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Ophrys apifera.
Ophrys abeille.
Bee orchid

A discreet but not rare orchid. Its small size (between 10 and 30 cm)  hides it in the grass but it sometimes happens to find stems of more than 50 cm. The design on the lip may vary but the short, squat shape prevents confusion with other ophrys. The 3 sepals are generally red, purple and can tend towards white. The dorsal sepal is often very posterior. The two lateral petals are very atrophied. The bumps are hairy. 

The species can self-fertilize which contributes to its spread. Eucera (bees) can, however, pollinate flowers and thus help to create hybrids.

We can find atypical individuals which, depending on their recurrence, have a variety name (trollii, friburgensis, etc.)

It is found in almost all French departments on limestone soils and in full light, in semi-shaded orchards, rarely above 1000 m altitude. It invites itself into some private lawns as long as seeds arrive spontaneously and it is left to grow between April and June.

Click on the photos to enlarge

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