Cabinet of Curiosities 8: flowers
It’s a close-up detail from a watercolour painting of a Bee Orchid, a rare flower found on the North Downs in Kent.
Bee Orchids get their name because part of the flower looks like a bee.
Many of the UK's 50 or so species of orchid - including some of the rarest - can be found in Kent, including the Monkey, Lady, Fly and Bee Orchid.
The Bee Orchid is a sneaky mimic - the flower’s velvety lip looks like a female bee. Males try to mate with it and end up pollinating the flower. However, this doesn’t happen in the UK, as we don’t have the right kind of bee! The flowers here are self-pollinating.
This is a watercolour of the rare Late Spider Orchid found on the hills near Folkestone.
Again, the orchid is an animal mimic. The flower’s velvety lip looks like a spider, encouraging male spiders to try and mate with it, helping pollination as the spider moves from flower to flower carrying pollen on its legs.
Did you know?
This flower is one of the rarest in the UK and is a protected species. It is called the Late Spider Orchid because it flowers later in the year than the Early Spider Orchid.