StatisticsHeight: up to 30cm
When to seeJune to July
AboutThe Bee orchid gets its name from its main pollinator - a species of bee - which is thought to have driven the evolution of the flowers. To attract the bees that will pollinate the plant, it has flowers that mimic their appearance. Drawing them in with the promise of love, the bees attempt a mating. As they land on the velvet-textured lip of the flower, the pollen is transferred and the poor bee is left frustrated. Sadly, the right species of bee doesn't occur in the UK, so Bee Orchids are self-pollinated here. Look out for their diminutive flower spikes on dry, chalk and limestone grasslands from June to July.
How to identifyA small orchid, the Bee orchid has a rosette of leaves at ground level and two leaves that grow up the stem as a sheath. The stem displays a number of relatively large flowers with pink sepals that look like wings, and furry, brown lips that have yellow markings on, just like a bee.
In our area
We don't have to look far to find bee orchids in London. Orchids are opportunistic, popping up in the newest habitats until they are outcompeted by grasses and brambles. Rarely trodden roadside verges are a clear favourite. London Wildlife Trust has been working hard to create optimum bee orchid habitats at: