Wild Flowers Provence

Identify wild flowers, trees, shrubs, orchids and other plants in Provence, France.

Environ 2800 photos de près de 700 plantes sauvages.  Comment le voir en français.
Around 2800 photos of nearly 700 wild plants: guide.

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Ophrys arachnitiformis

Ophrys en forme d’araignée
False Spider Orchid


Additional information

Plant family


Provence Verte

Flower colour


Flower size

lip 8-10 mm

Flowering months




Leaf type




15-40 cm


This is one of the earliest bee orchids to flower. The flowers and the scent of bee orchids mimic particular female insects so perfectly that male insects attempt to mate with the flowers and, in so doing, pollinate them.

Ophrys means ‘eyebrow’, referring to the velvety hairy lip and arachnitiformis comes from Latin ‘arachnis en formis’, meaning ‘in the form of a spider’. It is thought that it might be a hybrid, resulting from a cross between Ophrys fuciflora and Ophrys sphegodes.

In the summer, Ophrys orchids are dormant. The two underground tubers serve as food reserves, one tuber for the present year and one for the following year.


The lip is velvety brown, flushed with violet-purple. The speculum is H or X-shaped, blue or dark purple, outlined in yellow. The sepals can be pink, purplish, whitish or pale green. The petals, linear to lanceolate, have crinkly edges. The lip is usually unlobed, round, with a tiny tip.


Elliptic oval leaf, Lanceolate leaf is lance-shaped: long and widest in the middle. Basal rosette, oval to long, bluish-green; stem leaves small.

Fruits Seeds

Capsule: numerous seeds.

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