Mirror Orchid Ophrys speculum flowers
The unbelievably mild weather has brought forward many spring flowering plants at the Garden, but perhaps nothing more exquisite than the Mirror Orchid, Ophrys speculum. These are native to the Mediterranean where they love to grow in alkaline, gravelly positions in the sun. We introduced some plants from cultivated source last year and they are establishing in our Olive Grove, whose conditions mimic the wild. It is called the Mirror Orchid as the bluey part of the flower is very reflective of light, standing before the flower one can see ones outline reflected back. In the wild this terrestrial orchid is pollinated by a wasp, the flower shape mimics the shape of the female wasp to encourage male wasps to attempt to mate with it, in doing so his energetic attention brings about pollination.
The Mirror Orchid is tiny and very delicate. Please ask a member of staff to show you where it is, and be very careful as many other orchids are growing in this area.