Bee orchid – Ophrys apifera

Apparently, we have a bee orchid, Ophrys apifera, growing on the margin of our front garden. This is, according to a neighbour, a rare(ish) wildflower. Aside from being rather pretty and having flowers that attract bees as pollenators, the chemistry of their pigments is intriguing. The flowers contain quercetin and kaempferol glycosides as acylated or as cinnamic acid derivatives, while the pink outer sepals contain anthocyanins.

bee-orchid

The specimen in our garden is in a bad way, it being effectively on the edge of the relatively busy pavement outside our house, and rather downtrodden, trampled underfoot in the words of LedĀ Zeppelin (or is it?). So, what to do with it, should I lift it from the tarmac and soil and replant it somewhere safer in the garden, or just leave it and hope it has self-seeded and that we will find its offspring elsewhere on the border next year, rather than embedded in the pavement?

Incidentally, this is how it should look when it is not downtrodden and still in bloom

OphrysApifera

Intriguingly, lots of these flowers are growing in the grass verges at the Metro Centre in Gateshead, near my home town…