Bee orchids are fascinating and beautiful plants that certainly live up to their name: each flower looks like it has a female bee or wasp resting on it. These modified petals also smell like female bees, emitting enticing chemical signals. These remarkable adaptations are in fact an effective deception to lure a real bee to come and mate.
In most bee orchid species the excited male insect becomes covered in pollen, in turn pollinating the next orchid he visits; a few species, however, are still self-pollinating. These Mediterranean masters of mimicry grow either singly or in small groups in meadows, woodland edges or even by the side of the road.
See a summer's wildflower meadow spectacular.