Serapias vomeracea, Serapias levantina, Snake Tongue Orchid,
Long-lipped Serapias, Ploughshare orchid,
Hebrew: שפתן מצוי, Arabic: سربياس كالمحراث

Scientific name:  Serapias vomeracea (Burm.f.) Briq.
Synonym name:  Serapias levantina H.Baumann & Kuenkele
Common name:  Snake Tongue Orchid, Long-lipped Serapias, Ploughshare orchid
Hebrew name:  שפתן מצוי
Arabic name:  سربياس كالمحراث
Family:  Orchidaceae, סחלביים

The WildFlowers of Israel, Send Flowers
Location: Bene Zion Nature Reserve

Life form:  Geophyte
Leaves:  Alternate, rosette, entire
Flowers:  Auburn
Flowering Period:   March, April
Habitat:  Batha, Phrygana
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Montane vegetation of Mt. Hermon
Chorotype:  Mediterranean
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Serapias vomeracea,Serapias levantina, Snake Tongue Orchid, Long-lipped Serapias,Ploughshare orchid, שפתן מצוי


Derivation of the botanical name:
Serapias, Latin Serapis, Greek Σάραπις, Sarapis; named after the deity Serapis, an ancient Egyptian god of the lower world.
vomeracea, like a ploughshare.
levantina, of or pertaining to the Levant (countries on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea).
  • The standard author abbreviation Burm.f. is used to indicate Nicolaas Laurens Burman (1734 – 1793), a Dutch botanist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Briq. is used to indicate John Isaac Briquet (1870 – 1931), a Swiss plant collector.
  • The standard author abbreviation H.Baumann is used to indicate Hellmut Baumann (born 1957), a German botanist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Kuenkele is used to indicate Siegfried Kuenkele, a German botanist.

Pollination of Serapias Vomeracea by imitation of holes for sleeping solitary male bees (Hymenoptera). Acta Botanica Neerlandica, Volume 30, Issue 1-2, February 1981, pages 69-73; Article by Amots Dafni, Yariv Ivri, N. B. M. Brantjes, Wiley Online Library.
"Pollination occurs when in the afternoon hours the bees waver from flower to flower. The bees finally come to rest on a particular flower and remain there for the duration of the night. In the morning, the bees which slept in the flowers, are warmed up as a result of solar radiation which heats the flowers to 3 ***°C above ambient temperature.
Since the males of many Hymenoptera sleep in holes, the hypothesis is that the flowers mimic such holes. The shortness of the flower tube can be held responsible for the observed frequent changes from flower to flower, which is so important for pollination efficiency...
The females of these solitary bees usually sleep in their holes in the ground. The hundred males which were found sleeping in a Serapias flower may indicate that to bees, the flowers resemble their holes."
Serapias flowers function as holes for Eucera bees and therefore, could be regarded as mimics. The mimic is deceptive because the bee is attracted to the ‘hole’ forms, although the shortness of the tube keeps the bee moving between the flowers. In this way Serapias presents another example of the mimicry capacities of the terrestrial orchids (Dafni & Ivri 1980).

Eucera is a genus of bees in the Apidae, subfamily Apinae, and the tribe Eucerini- the long=horned bees.

Israel, Flora, Botany, Nature, Palestine