Friday, 12 July 2013

Pyramid peak

Thank you everyone who have been out to fill in the Common Spotted Orchid gaps, we now have over 1100 Adnoto records for all Orchids in Bedfordshire.

Some unusual forms of Common Spotted have been discovered including this hybrid with Fragrant Orchid taken by Geraldine and Richard Hogg at Barton hills.

CSO/Fragrant hybrid
Alex Laurie also found the scarce Common Spotted variant rhodochila again at Barton hills.

Some plants of Common Spotted do very well and become robust, tall and have multiple flowering stems. Below is the "Beast" of Duck End  with over a dozen spikes.

Large CSO

Pyramidal Orchids are currently at their peak of flowering and some impressive colonies have been reported, some in their thousands with Sharpenhoe appearing to have more than its fair share!


Pyramids have done well on the chalk where previously cultivated land has been put back to grassland and large colonies have established themselves within 20 years. There will still be colonies to record of both Common spotted and Pyramid so please keep an eye out.

Bee orchid can also build up impressive numbers on land only recently used for agriculture and they can colonise amenity land as well as farmland, Churchyards and burial grounds where they can be mown in the name of tidyness when just at their peak.
 As the County flower of Bedfordshire they deserve better!

Magnificent Bees in  grassland adjacent to burial ground..sadly mown soon afterwards.

Frog and Musk Orchid are out in flower now so do keep a look out for these hard to find species.

Musk may be found in the Totternhoe area on previosly worked quarry land that has been colonised by chalk grassland, other quarries and chalky roadsides would be worth visits in the Sundon and Sharpenhoe area where there used to be colonies of this species.
Look out for the honey scented golden spikes only two to four inches high in the grassland..but watch where you put your feet..mine are much better at finding them than my eyes!

Musk Orchid clump.

Frogs are quite hard to spot as well and as they are usually small, green, occur on short grassland often close to paths are also vulnerable to being trampled.

We are fortunate in having several colonies on the western chalk but they are easily overlooked so if you visit  Dunstable to Whipsnade Downs or the Zoo please keep an eye out and record any that are found.

 Any record of pollinators of orchids or the swelling of pods indicating that pollination has been successful will be welcome.
Bees do well and have self pollination if not pollinated by an insect. Common Spotted and Twayblade have good seed production with many swollen seed pods but our scarcer species like Man and Burnt Orchid are showing low numbers of developing seed pods. Others may develop seed pods but are either trampled or eaten before seed is would be interesting to know how our species are doing.

As the summer flowering orchids start to come to a close we can anticipate the late summer flowering of the Helleborines.

Good luck!