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Early Spider Orchid

Ophrys sphegodes

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.

Plant Data

Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
Order:
Asparagales
Family:
Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Type:
Flower
Life Cycle:
Perennial
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Habitats:
Farmland, grassland, meadows, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Flower:
֍
Brown, 3 petals
 
The inflorescence contains between 2 and 18 flowers. An early-flowering orchid (perhaps the first orchid to flower in the UK). It is fairly similar in appearance to the Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera). The dark reddish-brown lip (12mm across) of the Early Spider Orchid is larger than that of a Bee Orchid. It also has a notch at the tip and a bluish H-shaped marking (the speculum) which is a distinguishing feature of the Early Spider Orchid. The sepals and inner petals are a greenish-yellow colour and is sometimes marked reddish-brown. Pollinated by bees.
Fruit:
The fruit is a many-seeded capsule. The seeds are dust-like in appearance.
Leaves:
Most of the leaves are basal leaves. They are broadly oval with parallel venation. Found mainly on limy turf and woodland margins. Perennial.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  
Similar Species:
Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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