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September 2, 2013

#1259: Bee Orchid

Bee Orchid

[[Beret guy and a woman are walking through a wood.]]

Woman: There are these orchids whose flowers look like female bees. When males try to mate with them, they transfer pollen.

[[The woman kneels next to a flower.]]

Woman: This orchid - Ophrys Apifera - makes flowers, but no bees land on them because the bee it mimics went extinct long ago.

[[The woman stands.]]

Woman: Without its partner, the orchid has resorted to self-pollinating, a last-ditch genetic strategy that only delays the inevitable. Nothing of the bee remains, but we know it existed from the shape of this flower.

[[They walk on past the flower.]]

Woman: It’s an idea of what the female bee looked like to the male bee… … as interpreted by a plant.

Beret guy: Wow, so…

[[We see a full-colour painting of an orchid flower. It has purple-pink petals on a mottled grey background, along with the bee-like parts. It’s quite a realistic painting.]]

… the only memory of the bee is a painting by a dying flower.

[[The flower is alone in a panel.]]

[[Beret guy walks back on screen.]]

[[Beret guy kneels down next to it.]]

Beret guy: I’ll remember your bee, orchid. I’ll remember you.

[[Beret guy walks off-panel again.]]