A terrestrial orchid up to 25 cm tall and each inflorescence carries between 2 and 8 large flowers. The plants often grow in groups. In bright sunshine the flowers are highly visible as the light reflects off the speculum in the centre of the lip – it is a bright iridescent purple/blue in colour and very glossy. The lip is three-lobed and bordered by a greenish-yellow border which is surrounded by a band of thick velvety hairs which are reddish brown. The sepals and petals are green and marked with violet spots or stripes.
Ophrys speculum is spread throughout the Mediterranean region, and is particularly prolific in the Algarve region of Portugal. It becomes more scarce in the east. Other countries in Europe where this orchid is known to occur include Spain, Cyprus and Greece. It occurs up to 1,200 m above sea level.
Mirror orchid is found in stony and rocky places, grassland, scrub and pine forests, on dry to moist calcareous soils, in full sunlight or light shade.
It is pollinated exclusively by the wasp Dasyscolia ciliata. Males are lured by the flower, which resembles the female wasp. The flower and wasp are both hairy and the blue patch on the lip appears to mimic the reflection of the sky on the wasp's wings. Moreover, the floral scent resembles the mating pheromones of the female wasps, and males become highly excited and try to copulate with the flowers, pollinating them in the process.