Syn.: Ophrys insectifera var. andrachnites L., Ophrys chlorantha Hegetschw. et Heer, Arachnites apifera Tod.
Family: Orchidaceae Juss.
Distribution: The centre of distribution is the Mediterranean region – from Southern Europe to Crimea and Caucasus. In the north from Britain and Benelux to southern part of the Middle Europe.
Habitat: It grows in grassland, on sunny meadows, slopes and pastures, from lowlands to foothills.
Description: A perennial herb with an erect stem, 20–40 cm high. The basal leaves are in rosette, ovate to lanceolate, two stem leaves are alternate, elliptical. The upright inflorescence bears 2 to 8-flowers, the sepals are white to reddish pink or lilac, the petals green, the lip is yellow and brown marked. Flowers from May to July. The fruit is a capsule.
Threat and Protection: The Bee Orchid is a protected plant in some countries (CZ, SK), simultaneously is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
These images were taken in Czechia, Bílé Karpaty, Drahy (Zdeněk Podešva: dates 15. 6. and 5. 7. 2002) and in Italy, Gargano, Vieste (Ladislav Hoskovec: spring 2008).