Spider Orchid / Ophrys transhyrcana / أوركيد العنكبوت المبكر

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Status: Common

It is a geophyte plant belongs to the Orchidaceae, it reaches up to 20-60 cm tall. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate basal with 10-16 cm long. It has one leaf per node with smooth edges and linear form. Flowers are 3 cm in diameter with purple or blackish color. It is 3-8 flowers arranged in a well-spaced spike; sepals 1.5-1.8 cm, labellum up to 1.8 cm long, with small lateral lobes and dark purplish-brown or blackish-purple. It has 5 petals. These plants are remarkable in that they successfully reproduce through pseudocopulation, that is, their flowers mimic female insects to such a degree that amorous males are fooled into mating with the flowers, thereby pollinating them.

They are referred to as the "bee orchids" due to the flowers of some species resemblance to the furry bodies of bees and other insects. Flowering period: February to May.

Ecology:  Natural pine forests and heavy soils. It is glycophyte in terms of salt resistance; it belongs to the Med - Irano-Turanian Chorotype.

Distributions: This plant is native to the middle east , it is  widespread across much of Europe, North Africa, the Canary Islands, and the Middle East as far east as Turkmenistan.

In Palestine, it is distributed in Upper Jordan valley,  west bank mountains.

IUCN red list status: Not evaluated.

Local status: fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.