01 April 2011

Mirror Orchid

Mirror Orchid

The mirror orchid (Ophyrus Speculum) is one of Ibiza's most striking flowers. It is one of the twenty species of wild orchid species that can be found on the island.

In Spanish it is known as the "orquídea abeja" (bee orchid) or the "espejo de Venus" (mirror of Venus) is not unique to Ibiza and can also be seen across the Mediterranean in Portugal, mainland Spain, France, Italy and Greece but it is no less beautiful for it's abundance.

Known in Catalan as  "mosques blaves" (Blue flies)  or "Sabatetes del Bon Jesús" (Shoes of good Jesus) the flowers have a metallic-mauve speculum edged with yellow and fringed with brown hairs. The shiny black lump beneath the filaments is the insect lure.

In Ibiza they can be found in secluded spots across the island from spring into the early summer. They often grow in patches on disused farmland, in woodland and at the verges of secluded roads. The plants do best in partially shaded areas and prefer alkaline soil.

A well situated plant usually has around a dozen and occasionally up to twenty flowers. The plants are killed off by the fierce heat and arid conditions of summer in Ibiza however they regrow from the bulb the following year.

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