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To Bee or not to Bee

Posted by
grouser (Ludlow, United Kingdom) on 20 May 2009 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

That is the question.
And so to my mild obsession, wild orchids. This is your standard Bee orchid and I have plonked in a couple of close up shots to show the kind of colour variation you can get with these little beauties. It is from the Ophrys family, an orchid group that impersonate a variety of insects in order to get the fooled insects to copulate with the flower and thus pollinate it. They are not always very successful with this strategy and have a fall back position where they pollinate themselves. This leads to the development of local variations, one of the things that often makes orchids difficult to identify. Despite their sometimes failure to fool, to me they are a marvel of evolution and a fabulous little wonder of the universe.