Ophrys sphegodes Mill.

Ophrys sphegodes Mill., Gard. Dict., ed. 8. n. 8 (1768).

Ophrys sphegodes
Ophrys sphegodes
Ophrys sphegodes Mill.; Photos by Andrea Pitzer



Synonym Name: 

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. aesculapii (Renz) Soó ex J.J.Wood

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. amanensis (E.Nelson ex Renz & Taubenheim) H.A.Pedersen, P.J.Cribb & Rolf Kühn

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. araneola (Rchb.) M.Laínz

Ophrys sphegodes var. argentaria (Devillers-Tersch. & Devillers) Faurh.

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. atrata (Rchb.f.) A.Bolòs

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. aveyronensis J.J.Wood

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. catalcana Kreutz

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. cretensis H.Baumann & Künkele

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. epirotica (Renz) Gölz & H.R.Reinhard

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. gortynia H.Baumann & Künkele

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. helenae (Renz) Soó & D.M.Moore

Ophrys sphegodes nothosubsp. jeanpertii (E.G.Camus) Del Prete & Conte

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. lunulata (Parl.) H.Sund.

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. lycia (Renz & Taubenheim) H.A.Pedersen & P.J.Cribb

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. mammosa (Desf.) Soó ex E.Nelson

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. passionis (Sennen) Sanz & Nuet

Ophrys sphegodes var. provincialis (H.Baumann & Künkele) P.J.Cribb

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. sipontensis (Kreutz) H.A.Pedersen & Faurh.

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. sphegodes

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. spruneri (Nyman) E.Nelson

Ophrys sphegodes var. transhyrcana (Czerniak.) P.J.Cribb

VietNam Name:

English Name:

The Bako Bulbophyllum (A national park in Sarawak, Borneo)


Plant height varies with latitude. In the UK the maximum height is around 20 cm, but around the Mediterranean a height of 70 cm may be reached. Flowers March–May (April–May in northern latitudes). Each shoot may carry between 2 and 18 flowers. The flowers have yellow-green sepals and a velvety red-brown labellum with a distinctive silvery-blue H marking so that the flowers much resemble an arthropod and especially a spider.


Albania, Austria, Baleares, Belgium, Bulgaria, Corse, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, East Aegean Is., France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kriti, Krym, Lebanon-Syria, North Caucasus, Palestine, Portugal, Romania, Sardegna, Sicilia, Spain, Switzerland, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkmenistan, Yugoslavia


Ophrys sphegodes grows in open areas of impoverished grassland and in semi-shaded woodland edges. It requires calcareous substrates.

Flowering times:

From March through to the end of April


Plants prefer well-drained low-fertility soils and areas with partial shade. Plants are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides and transplanting because it kills symbiotic fungus. The plant is usually propagated through seed culture. This species is cool growing but not cold tolerant. Divide plant when flower fades. Grow in medium amount of light and cool temperatures.

Medicinal Uses:

Salep is very nutritious and deodorized. It is used as a special diet for children and caregivers, boiled with water, flavored and prepared in a manner similar to galangal. Rich in mucus, it forms a calming and fat-reducing jelly that is used to treat irritation of the gastrointestinal canal. One part salep and fifty parts water are enough to make jelly.

Edible Uses:

Root - cooked. It is used to process 'salep', a white to light yellow fine powder obtained by drying the tubers and pulverizing it. Salep is very nutritious and used as a drink or added to other grains and used in bread, etc.One ounce of salep is said to be enough to sustain a person for a day. Salep can also be made into a drink.







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