Are you surprised by the title?  Well, yes, in Lagartera, in spring, we have native wild orchids. (‘native’ means they’re born and grow in a certain place without human intervention).

Look how beautiful they are! 

We’re used to seeing orchids in florists’ shops, some of which have tall stems and have very different characteristics from our orchids, although they belong to the same family.

The orchid family comprises some 25,000 species. And, added to this natural diversity, there are another 60,000 species of hybrids and varieties produced by flower growers.

They’re found in most parts of the world, except in regions with a desert or polar climate, although they’re abundant in tropical areas.

But back to our Lagarteran orchid. Its scientific name is Ophrys Tenthredinifera, that’s right! But I like the common name better, because it’s easier to say, Orquídea avispa. Doesn’t that sound better? Well, as early as the 1st century AD, the Roman writer Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) mentions it in his book “Natural History”, which shows how important our little plant is!

This species is distributed in the Mediterranean (Spain, South of France and Corsica). It grows in places where there is scrub and trees, mainly on sandy soils. It grows in the countryside above the pueblo, especially around the Calvario (where the crosses are). Orchids need mycorrhizal fungi for their growth and metabolism, so attempts to transplant them tend not to be successful.

Like other orchids, ours are pollinated by pseudocopulation, another word that’s a mouthful! It means that the males of certain species of wasps or bees mistake the flower for a female of their species, and when they try to copulate with it, they pollinate the flower.

Wow! There are males that can be fooled by anyone.

So that’s my contribution on this subject.

Good luck next spring, and I hope you find some.

Guadalupe Suela,  Lagartera Autumn 2021

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