Ophrys - orchids
Of the many species of orchids that can be seen in the province of Piacenza, the ophrys or bee orchids are among the most curious and interesting.
Six species are particularly common in the hills, found in habitats that are open and sunny, such as clearings in the woods, dry meadows and stony pastures.
The ophrys are thermophilic orchids, i.e. they love hot climates, and the fact that they are found in our province is certainly encouraged by warm air currents coming from the Mediterranean Sea, which mitigate the climate of the hills.
Unlike other orchids, they have no nectar, and to attract pollinating insects they have developed incredible subterfuges. In fact, the labellum imitates, both in shape and in hairiness, the abdomen of the female of various species of Hymenoptera, such as bees.
Each individual species of bee orchid has specialised in attracting one particular species of hymenoptera, imitating that female.