Wild orchids in our garden

Early spider orchid - Ophrys sphegodes

The early spider orchid, Ophrys sphegodes, is less striking than the bee orchid but it is just as interesting.

The lip is shaped like the abdomen of a very large hairy spider. The "H" marking on the lip is not coloured, it is a little mirror. In books about orchids you will find pictures with a bright blue "H" (supposedly the reflecting the sky) but the pictures on this page are not retouched.

The early spider orchid has a large bump on either side of the lip. It flowers up to the end of June. There are about a hundred in the garden, but, being less colourful than the bee orchid, they are more difficult to find in the long grass.

An early spider orchid with a spider. But this spider is not going to pollinate the flower, it is a spider that hides on or near light coloured flowers or buds waiting for a pollinating insect to come and be gobbled up.

It going to get a bit of a shock because it is not a bee or hoverfly that will come but a great big hairy male spider. And this great big hairy male spider is not going to be very happy when he finds out that the object of his desire is just an inflatable doll.

Click the pictures to show them full size

Bee orchid - Orchis apifera

Wild orchids in our garden

Monkey orchid - Orchis simia

From French cornfield to English garden

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The music is the Chopin Winter Wind Etude Op 25 No11 played by Robert Finley.