John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys apifera var. atrofusca

O. apifera was first described by Hudson from England as far back as 1762. Its name refers to the  flowers resemblance to a bee and accordingly the species has long been commonly (and not a little  affectionately) known as the Bee Orchid.

It's a widespread orchid with a distribution across temperate and Mediterranean Europe as far east as  the Caucasus. In its favoured locations it can be abundant and its choice of habitat is wide, ranging from  the driest chalk grassland and garrigue to wet even swampy conditions. It predominently favours full sun  positions but will tolerate (though not relish) even significant shade.

O. apifera is largely self pollinating and this autogamy seems responsible for the frequent appearance of  variant plants, some of which, although not of evolutionary significance  occur on a sufficiently regular  basis to have acquired formal varietal status.

O. apifera var. atrrofusca is a rare variant that occurs throughout O. apifera's range and has been seen in the UK on only a handful of occasions. This variety has virtually lost all its specular marking and appears as a uniform brown colour with just the speculum necklace remaining. Pictures 2 and 4 depict a flower where even the necklace has become indistinct and is an example of an atrofusca  starting its evolutionary journey towards variety fulvofusca where the complete lip is a solid brown.

The pictures here are all from Weymouth, Dorset where it was discovered growing in 2010.