Bee orchid by Elizabeth Dack 1/9
Bee orchid by Mike Jones 2/9
Bee orchid at Burgh Castle by Adam Saunders 3/9
Bee orchid by Teresa Cabrera 4/9
Bee Orchid by Bonnie Robertson 5/9
Bee orchid by Julian Thomas 6/9
Bee Orchids, North Burlingham, Peter Mallett 7/9
Bee orchid, Strumpshaw Fen, Elizabeth Dack 8/9
Bee orchid, Muckleburgh, Bob Ward 9/9

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera

This attractive and hardy orchid can grow up to 30cm, and can take 5 to 8 years to flower. The flower is very unique, with its pink petals and a brown centre which looks like the body of a bee.

Conservation status

The bee orchid is declining. Orchids, of many different kinds, have declined not just in Norfolk but right across England. In the past, orchids have been picked for their attractive flowers. In the case of the bee orchid the single flower is the culmination of up to 8 years growth and, if picked, the plant is unlikely to flower again and has lost its only chance of producing seeds.

Related questions & advice

How can I encourage bee orchids to stay in the garden?


Did you know?

The flower of the bee orchid produces a scent like a female bee, and its shape has also evolved to attract male bees. The bees attempt to mate with the flower and in doing so transfer pollen between plants. However, in England it is thought that bee orchids only reproduce asexually, and that the species of bee that the flower evolved to attract is not found here.

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