I am sure that I am not the only one missing the sea this Easter weekend. It is a time of year when I would usually find my way to the Purbeck Coast to find Early Spider Orchid. Thankfully we do have cameras and can enjoy photographs from previous years, like these two images from 2018. The photograph above shows Ophrys sphagodes (Early Spider Orchid) and the coast from Durlston Head to Dancing Ledge. This plant is at the heart of the UK’s largest population of the species, and I can’t help thinking that the plants will benefit from few visitors to the cliffs this Easter.
The Early Spider Orchid is a close relative of the later flowering Bee Orchid and also mimics a female bee (not a spider) to attract emerging males to attempt mating with the flower and so pollinate it. Note the ‘furry’ edges to the lip and the mirror patches – quite convincing. I am already looking forward to April 2021 and the chance to see these wonderful little orchids in the wild again.