There are approximately 250 wild orchid species in Europe, 80 of which can be found in Catalonia. European orchids, unlike tropical wild orchids, grow in the soil and they are smaller, though their flowers are equally spectacular in shape and colour. They are mostly green plants, with no woody parts, and have an annual cycle.
Certain parts of the campus are left unmown temporarily to allow various wild orchid species to flower. Thanks to this, six species have been observed since 2010, five of which flower in spring (Ophrys sphegodes, Oprhys apifera, Himantoglossum robertianum, Serapias parviflora and Serapias vomeracea) and one that flowers in autumn (Spiranthes spiralis).
The area around the Rectorate building is the best on campus for orchids. The most common and earliest-flowering species is the early spider orchid (Ophrys sphegodes), while the species of the greatest ecological interest belong to the genus Serapias.