Ophrys araneola

Scientific Name: Ophrys araneola.

English Name: Small Spider Orchid.

French Name: Ophrys petite-araignée (= 'small spider orchid').

More information and photos can be found here on the Société Françaises des Orchidophilie de Poitou-Charentes et Vendée website.

5 Key Characters:
  • small flowers
  • lower petal edged in yellow
  • lower petal more or less rounded
  • the raised side lobes of the lower petal long and slender
  • the earliest orchid to flower in the area
Lookalikes: Ophrys sphegodes. In the Vienne valley there is also an orchid known as l'Ophrys du Gâtinais which may be a separate species. It is very early to flower (mid-March) and has a more convex bottom petal, more elongated in appearance, with a much finer yellow border and a finer stem.

Habitat: short calcareous grasslands and grazed areas, in full sun.

Flowering Period: March-April-May.

Status: Can be seen within 5km of Preuilly-sur-Claise. Protected and rare in Indre et Loire (37) and Indre (36), quite common in Vienne (86). It occurs in the Touraine du Sud, the valley of the Vienne river and in some places in the Cher river valley, and a very few other places.

Recorded by Loire Valley Nature:

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