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Orchis galilaea

Orchis galilaea

Thanks once again to Jackie Chambers for today's write-up and photograph! Just a reminder: Jackie is presenting on Wildflowers of Israel and Jordan in early February.

The most striking feature of the Galilee orchid is the tiny human form created by the lobes of the lower petal. Each flower is only 10-12 mm, but there are usually 15-90 per stalk. The flowers spike rises about 40-70cm above a group of basal leaves. This terrestrial orchid is native to Lebanon and Israel. There are several colour forms within this species, the flower colour and markings can range from white, green, and yellow to pink. For more photos please see: Orchis galilaea on the Gallery of the World's Bulbs site.

The name of the genus Orchis is derived from the Greek orchis, which means testicle, and refers to the pair of underground tuber-like structures at the base of the orchid. This also explains why this genus has often been regarded as an aphrodisiac and used in fertility treatments.

Research suggests that Orchis galilaea relies on a sexually deceptive pollination strategy. Instead of producing a reward of nectar for visiting pollinators this orchid produces a scent that mimics the female sex pheromones which attract male bees (Halictus marginatus) to the flowers. Members of the orchid family exhibit a wide range of pollination techniques.

11 Comments

sexy, indeed!

Wow, that's wild. The flowers in the bulb website photos are even more striking as to human forms. Have any mystical/folk meanings been attributed to those little people? What is the common name(s)?

If it were my choice, I'd call it the homonculus orchid, not the Galilee orchid...

Fabulous closeup. The blossoms look sugar-coated!

Yeah, but remember it is fake sugar, designed to deceive!

mae west comes to mind
do come up and see me sometime

thank you just love them

the picture is so good close up sharp
so clear and they are such goody dears

ziegfield follies girls on parade



Thanks for the information on the pollinators. I'm always curious about that.

It's my understanding that Orchis species in Turkey are under severe pressure due to overcollecting for the production of salep. Traditional culture in Turkey states that men who consume food containing salep will experience increased sexual vigor.

This photograp is beautiful . I really like the extreme close-up, as it shows so much.
Another learning experience for me in the write-up.
Thank you,
Margaret-Rae

hello Daniel, you are making the beautifulst job on this your site one, unfortunately for me is difficult to make of the comments, I do not know the language enough, compliments

Gabriella

Nice photo!

For some more photo of this nice species see our website with user contributed photos:
http://flora.huji.ac.il/browse.asp?lang=en&action=specie&specie=ORCGAL
We hope we could add some detailed distribution maps in the future.

Udi

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