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Ophrys speculum (mirror orchid)

Ophrys speculum is a Mediterranean orchid that is pollinated exclusively by a single species of wasp.
Ophrys speculum (mirror orchid) flower

Ophrys speculum (Photo: Alison Chapman)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Ophrys speculum Link

Common name: 

mirror orchid, mirror bee orchid, looking-glass orchid

Conservation status: 

Not assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria; listed on Appendix II of CITES.


Grassland, scrub and pine forests, on dry to moist calcareous soils, in full sunlight or light shade.

Key Uses: 

Food and drink.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Ophrys

About this species

Ophrys speculum is easy to recognise owing to its vivid blue, glossy, enamel-like lip, which is fringed with long, red-brown hairs. It is as if the flower reflects the sky of the Mediterranean, where this striking orchid is found; ‘speculum’ means mirror in Latin.

It is pollinated exclusively by the wasp Dasyscolia ciliata. Males are lured by the flower, which resembles the female wasp. The flower and wasp are both hairy and the blue patch on the lip appears to mimic the reflection of the sky on the wasp’s wings. Moreover, the floral scent resembles the mating pheromones of the female wasps, and males become highly excited and try to copulate with the flowers, pollinating them in the process.


Arachnites speculum (Link) Tod.


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