Ophrys sphegodes

Ophrys sphegodes

Ophrys sphegodesearly spider-orchid — is an early flowering orchid found on alkaline meadows and waste land. It has a distribution that includes western and northern Europe extending to parts of southern England but may also be found as far east as Corfu and possibly also in southern Spain. The distribution may however be uncertain because of confusion between related species. In Britain, it is restricted to parts of Dorset, Hampshire and Kent and is regarded as rare although where it is found it may be in stands of many hundreds of plants. It is classified as a British Red Data Book plant. Despite its apparent vulnerability, it has very successfully colonised the chalk spoil dumping grounds created near Dover at Samphire Hoe from the excavations of the Channel Tunnel.

It forms stands of relatively short plants between 30 cm to 40 cm in April and May. The flowers have yellow-green sepals and a velvety brown labellum with a distinctive H marking so that the flowers much resembles an arthropod and especially a spider.

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