My (Imaginary) Orchid Collection

Wild Ride
A couple of weeks ago we went to hunt for wild peonies, and found many new orchids along the trail. I also spotted a few tall orchids that weren't in bloom yet, so today I went back to spot them. And I present to you the whole series. Perhaps this is not the place for this post, as non of them is fragrant. Amon gate Israeli orchids, only the Holy Orchid (Orchis sancta) that is extremely rare (and I didn't meet yet) and the Scented Orchid (which smells like dung) have smell. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

I'll start with the first orchid I met on the trail (note the many Anatolian Orchids behind it):
Cephalanthera longifolia סחלבן החורש
Cephalanthera longifolia סחלבן החורש
Orchis punctulata סחלב נקוד
Orchis galilaea סחלב הגליל
סחלב  שלוש-השיניים Orchis tridentata
Orchis tridentata סחלב  שלוש-השיניים 
Orchis anatolica סחלב אנטולי
Orchis anatolica סחלב אנטולי
This small yet impressively coloured orchid rules the slopes of Mt. Meron but still manages to look special and impressive. 
Orchis papilionacea ? סחלב פרפרני
Orchis papilionacea  סחלב פרפרני
Orchis sancta ?
Orchis papilionacea  סחלב פרפרני
This is the same as above but perhaps older and therefore less vibrant in colour.
Limodorum abortivum (Violet Limodore) שנק החורש
Limodorum abortivum (Violet Limodore) שנק החורש
This is the one I spotted about to bloom a couple of weeks ago, and came back to see today. It was already starting to dry out, but still - you can get the picture. It's a very tall orchid. Note how it compares to the rockrose (cistus) and blood helichrysum next to it:
Limodorum abortivum (Violet Limodore) שנק החורש
Ophrys umblicata דבורנית דינסמור
Ophrys umblicata דבורנית דינסמור
This last photo was not photographed on Mt. Hillel but I found another one and didn't bother to take a photo (was saving camera space for the peonies!). There are several other kinds of bee orchids in Israel, here is another one just for fun:
Early Spider Orchid (Ophrys transhyrcana) דבורנית הקטיפה
Early Spider Orchid (Ophrys transhyrcana) דבורנית הקטיפה
Ophrys holosericea (Great Bee Orchid) דבורנית גדולה
Ophrys holosericea (Great Bee Orchid) דבורנית גדולה

The following are also not found on the same site, but are part of my imaginary orchid collection nevertheless.
Anacamptis pyramidalis ?? בן-סחלב צריפי
Anacamptis pyramidalis בן-סחלב צריפי

This one is relatively common in our area (lower altitude). I think this its rhizomes are the original ingredient of the Sahleb pudding.
Mystery Orchid
This lovely one I could not for the life of me identified. Spotted in Kziv Creek reserve, along the same trail that has the Wild Lilies. I would love to learn which one it is!


Monkey Bees-ness

Rockrose & Bee

I'm back from 3 weeks in Israel, where there were all kinds of bees... There were ones that humbly collected pollen and nectar of cistus (see photo above) and were busy building combs and making honey; but also there were some perverted ones that strayed from their task for a pseudocopulation with deceiving plants...

Growing up in Clil, there were a couple of spots near our home were year after year we'll go looking for the "Large Bee Orchid" (Devoranit Gedola). They were rare, and like most bulbeous plants, re-bloom each year in the same location and don't spread out nearly as easily as other wild flowers.

Ophrys apifera (Bee Orchid)

This year, I was fortunate to spot the rare bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) quite late into spring and in an area I've never knew was a habitat for this strange plant. The area where they were growing had a mind boggling abundance of them (relatively speaking, of course...) and me and my brother Yotam spotted 2 hybrids of them - Large Bee Orchid (which looks like bumblebee) and Velvet Bee Orchid (the brown one, which looks like a wild bee).

Wild Bee Orchid

These sneaky orchids, in addition to dressing up as a wild Mediterranean bees, have developed an anatomy that will embarrass the manufacturers of blow-up-dolls. Furthermore, it even releases virgin bee pheromones (!) to make the male bee mad to the point of having sex with them...
This act of deception is called pseudocopulation. I haven't noticed
any smell around these orchids, so I'm guessing it's one of those scentless pheromones... This natural phenomenon, nevertheless, got me thinking quite a bit about the intelligence of plants - they must know more than they show!

These orchids are the only plants I'm aware of having such a developed sexual scheme. I'm curious to hear if you've ever seen them in real life (preferably in the wild) or if you know of any other plants that have such strange sexual habits.

Post a comment and enter to win a decant of Sous la Vent.
Back to the top