Cephalanthera rubra (L.) Rich., 1817
Common names: Red Helleborine [En], Céphalanthère rouge [Fr], Rood bosvogeltje [Nl], Rotes Waldvöglein [De], Cefalantera rossa [It], Κεφαλάνθηρο το ερυθρό [Gr], Kırmızı Orkide [Tu]
Mount Vermion, VERIA ● Greece
Description: This orchid produces 12 attractive pink or purplish-pink flowers on a long spike. In profile, the flowers are similar in appearance to spiky tulips. One stem is usually produced, which may have a purple tint and a downy appearance; the leaves are dark green in colour and are very long and thin.
Biology: Blooms in June-July. Flower-visitors so far reported are bees, especially males of several solitary bees Chelostoma spp. (Megachilidae). Females of the two Chelostoma species collect pollen for their brood almost exclusively from bellflowers (Campanula). Mate-seeking flights, feeding and resting of the males are strongly associated with Campanula flowers. C. rubra mimics the floral coloration of Campanula in the bee visual system and thereby receives pollination service by the Chelostoma males. Pollination is regularly effected by males of C. fuliginosum. The orchid peaks in anthesis distinctly before Campanula, phenologically matching and efficiently exploiting the male bee population.
Habitat: The plant preferably grows on calcareous soils in dry woods.
Distribution: The Red Helleborine is found throughout most of Europe, east to the Urals and as far as 60 degrees north. It is however rare in Britain, the Low Countries and western France. It also occurs in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and in various parts of southern Asia as far east as Iran.
Protection: Classified as Critically Endangered in Great Britain and fully protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.
Anders Nilsson L., 1983/ Mimesis of bellflower (Campanula) by the red helleborine orchid Cephalanthera rubra, Nature 305, 799 - 800 (27 October 1983); doi:10.1038/305799a0.
Wikipedia, Cephalanthera rubra
Wigginton M.J., 1999. British Red Data Books 1; Vascular Plants. 3rd Edition. JNCC, Peterborough.