Ophrys arachnoides Andrews

Spider-like Ophrys


Family: Orchidaceae

Genus: Ophrys

Description: 

Ophrys with spider-like flowers: leaves enfoliating the stem, lance-shaped, of a glaucous green and striped. Blossom spreading, and nearly white : the three outer ones are obtuse, the two Inner ones pointed, and very small: the lip of the honey-cup is large, nearly round, brown, convex, and hairy : near the base of the nectary there are two opposite appendicles of a yellow colour: the centre of the honey-cup is interlined, and spotted with yellow; and in the centre of the margin there is a fleshy substance. (Bot. Repos.)

History: 

Published in Bot. Repos. 7: 470 in 1807. This interesting species of the Orchideae family was sent from Switzerland, by Dr.Messear, to the gardens of Isaac Swainson, esq. at Twickenham, where it flowers annually. It is said to be a native of Britain, France, Portugal, &c. and is known by the appellation of Ophrys arachnoides, or spider-like, but is generally thought to bear a stronger analogy to the bumble bee. In the Flora Londinensis of Curtis there is a figure under the title of Ophrys fuciflora very much resembling our plant in most particulars, except in the colour of the flower, which is very different. The same plant is again figured in Dr. Smith's English Botany, under the specific of aranifera : and thus the plant is known both as a spider and a drone. The arachnoides may therefore be considered, if not a distinct species, as a very strong marked variety, and is at present a scarce plant.

Not listed in the usual databases. O. arachnoides Vell. is listed in PlantList and IPNI, showing as unplaced in PlantList but it was not published until 1831 in Fl. Flumin. Icon. 9: 59 in 1831.


Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner