Fly orchid – the mimicing flower

The fly orchid (Ophrys insectifera) is one of the most peculiar orchids. The small flowers resembles an insect to attract them for pollination, and the plant also releases the scent of female insects to attract the right pollinator to accomplish fertilization. It mimics a vasp of the genus Gorytes. They lure the insect by acting as a dummy female.  This is an excample of the important relationship between many orchids and specialized insects. And an excample of how everything is linked in nature.

The fly orchid is the only Ophrys orchid in Norway, and it can be found in 6 of the 18 counties. The fly orchid is a threatened species some places but not everywere, but it is protected in many countries. I found this one about at the same place as the ladyslipper orchid. There are more photos of wild orchids in my photo gallery.

I didn’t see any of the pollinating vasps, only mosquitoes. Like this one, resting on a budding orchid, on a Common twayblade (Listera ovata). Probably ready to attack.


75 thoughts on “Fly orchid – the mimicing flower

    1. There is something resembling an insect in the background of the first photo (#5 in the gallery). Or is that a new/old bud? Anyway, interesting series.


      1. It is blurred, and I am not sure, Disperser. It probably is not something “important”, or maybe I did not see, and did not check. There actually was only two of these orchids in this place, as I could see, and this plant was damaged, bending down, almost broken. This must have happened some time ago, since the flowers were in the right position, not upside down. I wish there were more of them.


    2. Don’t ever come in July, Disperser. Unless you can cope with mosquitos, or only stay in cities. There are only two or three in urban places. And they are not actually dangerous…


      1. Yeah, not big on mosquitoes . . . mighty few of them here where I live (very little water for them to breed on).

        I would consider coming there anyway, but you guys probably have rules against bringing my mosquito gun (I’m not that good a shot, but I have fun trying).


      2. Oh, you americans, bringing guns all the time. I don’t know about mosquito gun though, there might be an exemption for that one… And of course, the reason we have all these mosquitos: it’s raining most of the time. But the summer is short. By the end of July they start to freeze and die…At least they are gone. What do you have: snakes and scorpions?


      3. Well, I prefer my mosquito gun to my mosquito ax . . . although I get more of a workout with the ax.

        Not much by way of bothersome bugs where I live. There are only a few poisonous snakes in Colorado, and I’ve never seen one. I have also never seen a scorpion (although I listen to some of their Acoustica recordings), but I have a scorpion shotgun just in case.


    1. Great photos and it’s also very nice to get the proper names even in Latin! I wish I could identify half the stuff I photograph.


      1. I am more the usually interested. I don’t know all the names in latin, Zootshooter, but it is quite easy to find if you know the name in any language. And the latin make it possible for not-english speakers to find the name in their language….


  1. when I saw the small thumbnail I thought they were insects 🙂 very beautiful and unusual.


  2. These are just wild, looking like insects. But that close up of the mosquito takes the cake. If I were there that thing would be taking a bite out of me. They all do! Great shot. 😀


  3. Fanatstic photos of this magic flower, the fly orchid is an extremely distinctive flower and your macros are stunning! Btw – thanks for stopping by my blog 😉


    1. I have looked at your collection. It is amazing. So many, and so many strange and beautiful ones. Even many different Ophrys. We have only one. Thanks for charing, Antonio.


  4. Isn’t it wonderful to find these dainy little orchids in the wild. I find them much more interesting and beautiful than the larger showy blooms that we find in Plant Nurseries & Flower Exhibitions here in Australia.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s