Friday, 26 June 2009

More on orchids

It has been suggested that really robust specimens like this one are showing 'hybrid vigour'. Since I consider them all to be hybrids, I rather think their environment might just have something to do with it instead.

The next sequence shows the gently graded colour variation from lilac to white:

That last one with no colouration whatsoever and yellow pollinia is known as Dactylorhiza fuchsii, ssp. o'kellyi, and is confined to western Ireland. No comment.

I raced to have a close look at these two when I saw them, and sure enough, the spike is short and the lower lobes are really frilly. A perfect Heath Spotted Orchid?

Not in my book...they just happened to be the only two with their feet submerged in the stream, and were less than a metre away from identically-coloured CSO with dry feet.

Still with orchids in mind, have a look at this shot of the hoverfly Helophilus pendulus:

Notice anything?

The hoverfly has some green objects stuck to its antennae. A much closer zoom in shows that they are, in fact, the pollinia of an orchid:

They must be quite irritating to the hoverfly, because it was quite clearly trying to remove them. Maybe hoverflies aren't perfectly built for this pollination task.


Gill said...

"ssp. o'kellyi, and is confined to western Ireland." so what's it called when I find it in Yorkshire then?

Nice page (and you have to sympathise with that hoverfly - it must be lie having sellotape stuck to your fingers!

Stuart said...

"so what's it called when I find it in Yorkshire then?"

"White CSO hybrid". Same as here.

Stace: "not worthy of ssp status."