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2019 UK Orchids

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Old Monday 8th July 2019, 19:52   #101
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Hutton Roof Crags

Finally I have had the opportunity to visit Hutton Roof Crags in Cumbria for the Epipactis atrorubens that grow there. Its a bit of a climb over rough ground, but I have tackled worse on crutches! There are two dangers here. First is the ticks that many have encountered, so we tucked trousers into socks as a bit of protection. Second is the fact that this is limestone pavement country, wiith clints and grykes where you can twist an ankle or worse.
The Dark Red Helleborins are worth it though. Here there and everywhere, perhaps over 2000 plants. And unlike Bishop Middleham where they are fairly unform in colour, these have deepest red plants (atroatrorubens?), lemon petalled plants (var bicolor) and very pale forms (var pallens). I came away feeling well pleased
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Old Monday 8th July 2019, 20:01   #102
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Hutton Roof Crags 2

A few more photos. First is an unusual DRH where the flower spike has divided low down. Second is the natural hybrid of the DRH and the BLH (not in flower yet) - E. x schmallhausenii. And a view looking across Cunbria showing the pavement.
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Old Monday 8th July 2019, 20:04   #103
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Rhodchila

One of the orchids on my must see list is the rhodochila form of the Common Spotted Orchid. There was an opportunity to look for one on the return from Cumbria. Not the best example, and starting to go over, but worthy of a tick I reckon.
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Old Monday 8th July 2019, 21:39   #104
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2019 UK Orchids

This morning I saw what I think is a large cluster of Early Purple's on the verge of the M11 between the Bishop's Stortford and Harlow exits. Unfortunately I was doing 70 mph and not able to do more than glimpse them in passing.

There is a scattering of what might also be Early Purple's growing in rough grass beside the traffic lights at the Harlow exit. Those I saw from closer - but again, no time to stop and look as the lights changed almost at once.
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Old Monday 8th July 2019, 21:47   #105
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This morning I saw what I think is a large cluster of Early Purple's on the verge of the M11 between the Bishop's Stortford and Harlow exits. Unfortunately I was doing 70 mph and not able to do more than glimpse them in passing.

There is a scattering of what might also be Early Purple's growing in rough grass beside the traffic lights at the Harlow exit. Those I saw from closer - but again, no time to stop and look as the lights changed almost at once.
I doubt they were Early Purples. The clue is in the word Early. You may just find the odd very late flowering EPO in late June, but not a cluster. I saw EPOs in seed growing at 700 foot two days ago.
If that was on the M6 in lancs I'd say they could be Northern Marsh Orchids. Could they be Pyramidals?

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Old Tuesday 9th July 2019, 11:48   #106
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2019 UK Orchids

They could well be. I've haven't seen any Pyramidal's locally so far, though I've seen them growing in both Luton and Dunstable (upwards of 25 miles away). Yesterday's flower spikes looked rounded at the top, not tapering like the Pyramidal's I saw, although that was a fleeting impression and could be wrong. We get Southern Marsh orchids locally, so it could be those but somehow the pink seemed wrong for that, and the local SM tend to produce long spikes and these were compact.

I am sure that they were orchids, but that is about as definite as I can be. None of the locations are readily accessible, which should mean that they are safe, hopefully.
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Old Tuesday 9th July 2019, 21:59   #107
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They could well be. I've haven't seen any Pyramidal's locally so far, though I've seen them growing in both Luton and Dunstable (upwards of 25 miles away). Yesterday's flower spikes looked rounded at the top, not tapering like the Pyramidal's I saw, although that was a fleeting impression and could be wrong. We get Southern Marsh orchids locally, so it could be those but somehow the pink seemed wrong for that, and the local SM tend to produce long spikes and these were compact.

I am sure that they were orchids, but that is about as definite as I can be. None of the locations are readily accessible, which should mean that they are safe, hopefully.
They are probably orchids. Pyramidals don't always live up to their name. A minority that I see are conical in shape. Some willl appear globular and others columnar. A good number are closer to a semi-globular shape. And then all shapes inbetween of course.
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Old Wednesday 10th July 2019, 13:13   #108
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Minera Lead Mines

We ventured back to Minera Lead Mines today to explore another part of it. It was a very rewarding walk! On a path very close to the Lead Mines Visitor Centre, we found many BLH (?) yet to flower (in fact these are freely scattered throughout the area, as of course are the CSO's), but well on the way, Pyramidal Orchids (actually growing by the roadside), hundreds and hundreds of CSO, including an Albino with no markings at all, and a couple of Bees - almost over, but still just about in flower. Very easy walking, and thoroughly enjoyable.

If you are within touch of this area, it is very well worth a visit.

We would certainly agree with MUBA, that Sweeney Fen is a wonderful place to go!

Martin and Elaine
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Old Wednesday 10th July 2019, 17:42   #109
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I can vouch for the Broad-leaved Helleborines at the Miners lead mines. They grow all around the visitor centre on different levels, and show plenty of diversity. Follow the trackbed of the old mineral line, through the gate at the road to World's End, and there loads more at the side of the path, and in the thicket to the side. I have been to see the Epipactis at famous sites like Warbug, but that pales to insignificance to sites like Minera. PM me for details f how to get there, oor for directions to another nearby site agiain ith hundreds of E. helleborine.
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Old Wednesday 10th July 2019, 20:41   #110
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Six Spot-Burnet with a tongue all gummed up with Pyramid Orchid pollina at Talacre this weekend.
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 15:00   #111
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Albino Fragrant

Happy to have found this totaly unpigmented Fragrant Orchid at Eryrys during the last week. The Fragrants here seem to have a mix of Marsh and Chalk features based on labellum and sepals, but to me this seems to be closer to Marsh Fragrant.
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 15:09   #112
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After a tip off from our daughter, we found a new (for us) orchid site this afternoon. Brymbo Pool is close to where we live and until now we hadn't realised that orchids grew there! It is alive with Common Spotted Orchids (some with spotted leaves and some without), and we found a patch containing just about half a dozen Bee Orchid plants, in various stages of development from not quite out to going over.

It was a pleasure to walk around this new patch. Access is easy, through a gate, and the pool itself (more of a lake) is lovely.

Martin and Elaine
I too saw these, and also in the trees near the bottom end of the pond was a colony of Epipactis. They weren't out on a first visit, but the birch gave a sort of Alyn Waters look to the spot, there and some plants had the leaves opposite rather than spiralling around the stem. A new Dune Helleborine location perhaps?
Alas, no. A second visit a couple of days ago was really still too early, but with literally a couple of flowers open it was clear they were E. Helleborine.

There was plant however, that would be of interest to the Barnum & Bailey Orchid Society. Whether these flowers open up waits to be seen.
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Old Monday 22nd July 2019, 11:02   #113
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Gymnaorhiza (or something like that)

I have been looking for hybrids between Fragrant Orchids and Common Spotted at a number of sites over the last couple of years without success. Until today. Okay, I was spoonfed the location and truth be told, it did standout from the Marsh Fragants around it, but that is another tick for me. And now I know what to look for perhaps I can find my own examples elsewhere in future. In case you are wondering, it was Minera Quarry.
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Old Monday 22nd July 2019, 14:04   #114
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I have been looking for hybrids between Fragrant Orchids and Common Spotted at a number of sites over the last couple of years without success. Until today. Okay, I was spoonfed the location and truth be told, it did standout from the Marsh Fragants around it, but that is another tick for me. And now I know what to look for perhaps I can find my own examples elsewhere in future. In case you are wondering, it was Minera Quarry.
That's a great find, Steve. We'll hope to go and have a look ourselves asap.

Martin.
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Old Monday 22nd July 2019, 20:02   #115
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That's a great find, Steve. We'll hope to go and have a look ourselves asap.

Martin.
Thank Sarah Bird of Chester Zoo who found it and shared the information
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Old Tuesday 23rd July 2019, 11:00   #116
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That's a great find, Steve. We'll hope to go and have a look ourselves asap.

Martin.
As a total novice with Orchids, can I ask why you seem to celebrate the discovery of a hybrid?
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Old Tuesday 23rd July 2019, 11:38   #117
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Thank Sarah Bird of Chester Zoo who found it and shared the information
It was there last year, too Steve, but in bud when we visited a week ago on Saturday.
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Old Tuesday 23rd July 2019, 19:57   #118
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As a total novice with Orchids, can I ask why you seem to celebrate the discovery of a hybrid?
I can only speak for myself. There is something to be learned from intergeneric hybrids. For starters they must have very similar chromosomes, which indicates a close taxonomic relationship.
However some hybids can be a pain. The Dactylorhiza hybrids may confuse identification of the species in a mixed colony, back cross with either parent, and leave a hybrid swarm, effectively wiping out a pure apecies on a site.
Then again, examples like this crop up rarely. Most Fragrant x Common Spotted appear to involve the Chalk Fragrant, which makes this even rarer.
You may ask why do we bother with varieties, because they are genetic abberations too. Its all part of the diversity of orchids. Would I travel far to see this. Well, as this was nearly on my doorstep I could be there and back in an hour. But I have driven from Wrexham to Cheltenham to see one orchid - and it hadn't flowered. Had to go back. Its a hoby.
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 12:52   #119
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I can only speak for myself. There is something to be learned from intergeneric hybrids. For starters they must have very similar chromosomes, which indicates a close taxonomic relationship.
However some hybids can be a pain. The Dactylorhiza hybrids may confuse identification of the species in a mixed colony, back cross with either parent, and leave a hybrid swarm, effectively wiping out a pure apecies on a site.
Then again, examples like this crop up rarely. Most Fragrant x Common Spotted appear to involve the Chalk Fragrant, which makes this even rarer.
You may ask why do we bother with varieties, because they are genetic abberations too. Its all part of the diversity of orchids. Would I travel far to see this. Well, as this was nearly on my doorstep I could be there and back in an hour. But I have driven from Wrexham to Cheltenham to see one orchid - and it hadn't flowered. Had to go back. Its a hoby.
In addition to these points, I would add that orchid hybrids represent an identification challenge. I must confess that we are not very good at it - often forgetting that as well as inflorescence, other factors such as leaf configuration, fragrance etc. have to be taken into account. I remember a few years back finding a curious Dactyl. which appeared to be a possible hybrid. We referred it to Richard Bateman, who was very helpful but politely asked us about fragrance .. a factor which, crucial in that particular instance, we had forgotten totally to assess! Finally, and particularly in the present case, there is the issue of nomenclature. It appears that this particular hybrid has a Latin name (X Dactylodenia st-quintinii) which really lacks currency, in the sense that it was coined before the separation of the erstwhile "fragrant orchid" into its present three species. I wonder whether this will be rectified in time??

Martin
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Old Thursday 25th July 2019, 10:44   #120
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I can only speak for myself. There is something to be learned from intergeneric hybrids. For starters they must have very similar chromosomes, which indicates a close taxonomic relationship.
However some hybids can be a pain. The Dactylorhiza hybrids may confuse identification of the species in a mixed colony, back cross with either parent, and leave a hybrid swarm, effectively wiping out a pure apecies on a site.
Then again, examples like this crop up rarely. Most Fragrant x Common Spotted appear to involve the Chalk Fragrant, which makes this even rarer.
You may ask why do we bother with varieties, because they are genetic abberations too. Its all part of the diversity of orchids. Would I travel far to see this. Well, as this was nearly on my doorstep I could be there and back in an hour. But I have driven from Wrexham to Cheltenham to see one orchid - and it hadn't flowered. Had to go back. Its a hoby.

This would be the obvious concern from a birders perspective and I can't imagine, travelling around to see hybrid birds!

Thanks for your expansive reply.
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Old Saturday 3rd August 2019, 22:30   #121
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Apigmentous BLH

Last weekend I was down in the Cirencester area for a few days. On the way to the hotel, stopped off at Leckhampton to have a look at the Broad-leaved Helleborine I found back in 2015 that lacked both any chlorophyll or colour pigments. It is still going, but looking a sorry specimen. I cannot imagine its flower opening this year.
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Old Saturday 3rd August 2019, 22:38   #122
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Violet Helleborine

In Lower Woods we found both Broad-leaved and Violet Helleborines. Not may of either - up here in N.E. Wales and Shropshire put on a better show of both. This plant grabbed my attention. While others have declared it to be a Violet Hellborine, to me it lacks that translucent quality of that species. The cup of the epichile is much darker than any VH I have seen I suspect Epipactis x schulzii, but know other will disagree - perhaps because they didn't see it first.
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Old Saturday 3rd August 2019, 22:44   #123
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Narrow-lipped Helleborine

Supplied with a GR we ventured into no-man's land of Sommerset near the village of Bisley to find an E. leptochila. It was down a single file road with no real passing places, including what seemed to be going through someone's back yard. How this single plant hasn't been squashed by tyres is a miracle, but at least it is immune to deer and slugs. Should be nicely in flower now.
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Old Saturday 3rd August 2019, 22:58   #124
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Blw

For those within hopping distance of Wrexham I recommend a visit to Minera Lead Mines. In the vicinity of the visitor centre and along the trackbed of the old mineral railway to just past the road to World's End are thousands of Broad-leaved Helleborines. Just past that road I stood and counted 200 hundred spikes before I gave up. They range in colour from the palest lemon yellow to the deepest purple. If you can't make it this weekend then pencil it in for 2020.
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Old Sunday 4th August 2019, 18:35   #125
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Supplied with a GR we ventured into no-man's land of Sommerset near the village of Bisley to find an E. leptochila. It was down a single file road with no real passing places, including what seemed to be going through someone's back yard. How this single plant hasn't been squashed by tyres is a miracle, but at least it is immune to deer and slugs. Should be nicely in flower now.
Steve

Bisley is a long way north of Somerset!!

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