Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Orchid

Since learning some time ago that Shipley Park was home to Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera), Malcolm and I have been on the look-out for them - without success.  However, I recently read that a member of the local wildlife website had seen lots of these delightful little orchids and after contacting him with a request for directions, we were ready this morning to set out to search again.  The directions from Mr. Jim Steele proved to be spot-on and we didn't have to search long before we found them.
These hardy Orchids grow all through the winter, producing a rosette of green, lanceolate leaves from which the flower spike appears in spring - and what flowers they are!
The three pale pink sepals have a green vein running along their length, but the most obvious part of the flower has to be the lower part known as the labellum.  This has evolved to mimic the markings of a Bee, thus attracting male bees who misguidedly try to mate with the flower and as a consequence, the flower gets pollinated.  A beautiful symbiotic relationship.
More pictures to come - you can be sure.  But for the time being, many thanks to Jim at Erewash Valley Wildlife for the directions.  Click the link to visit the site.
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