Friday, 13 June 2014

The sweet smell of success...

Richard Revels has found this splendid Marsh fragrant orchid on the downs, seen here among Common Spotted Orchids it is currently 45 cm high and growing! Robustness is one feature of the Marsh Fragrant, usually most at home in fens, but not unknown from chalk downland.

Marsh Fragrant Orchid Dunstable Downs Whipsnade end 

The lip is much wider than the usual fragrants with larger side lobes and a distinct bulge or shoulder on the side lobes.

Marsh Fragrant broad lip, shorter middle lobe, shoulder bulge.

Normal Downland Fragrants have a narrower lip usually with the central lobe longer than the side lobes as shown below.

It is worth looking at any population of fragrants for large specimens and having a look at the lip. Hybrids do occur...and these plants show most of the features of the Marsh type...and do look different overall.

Keep looking!