More than one–third of orchid species do not provide their pollinators with either pollen or nectar rewards. Floral mimicry could explain the maintenance of these rewardless orchid species, but most rewardless orchids do not appear to have a rewarding plant that they mimic specifically. We tested the hypothesis that floral mimicry can occur through similarity based on corolla colour alone, using naive bumble–bees foraging on arrays of plants with one rewarding model species, and one rewardless putative mimic species (Dactylorhiza sambucina) which had two colour morphs. We found that when bees were inexperienced, they visited both rewardless morphs randomly. However, after bees had gained experience with the rewarding model, and it was removed from the experiment, bees resampled preferentially the rewardless morph most similar to it in corolla colour. This is the first clear evidence, to our knowledge, that pollinators could select for floral mimicry. We suggest that floral mimicry can be a selective force acting on rewardless orchids, but only under some ecological conditions. In particular, we argue that selection on early–flowering rewardless orchids that receive visits from a large pool of naive pollinators will be weakly influenced by mimicry.