Bee Orchid on Bepton Down


South Downs Bee Orchid

How about this for a stunning little orchid!? When I see British wild flowers like this I marvel at how wonderful nature can be. Goodness knows how or why this little flower evolved to look like a bee, but that’s only half of the mystery of the bee orchid.

You see, not only are bee orchids rare, they also make life difficult for themselves to reproduce. It takes about 8 years for a bee orchid plant to grow, and then it will flower just once – and die. The seeds are then viable for 3-4 days and check this, the seeds can only germinate if the weather is right and if a specific Rhizoctonia fungus is present in the ground! It’s a miracle that any of these orchids exist!

I snapped this photo on Bepton Down, near Midhurst in West Sussex on The South Downs. There’s a website for Bepton Down and it’s definitely a wonderful place to visit if you have time.

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