Ophrys insectifera

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaOrchidaceaeOphrysOphrys insectifera


A shade-tolerant tuberous herb usually found on chalk and limestone soils in open deciduous woodland and scrub, but also recorded from grassland, chalk-pits, limestone pavement, disused railways, spoil heaps and, rarely, unstable coastal cliffs. In Ireland and Anglesey it is found only in open calcareous flushes and fens. 0-390 m (Helbeck Wood, Westmorland).



World Distribution

European Temperate element.

© K.J. Walker, BSBI

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 9

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 803

Life form information

Height (cm): 60

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 264

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 31

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -1.34

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references