Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wild Orchid Blogging...May 2011

himantoglossom hircinum
orchis apifera
Spring seems to have broken speed records this year. We had a spell of hot and dry weather and all the plants seemed to be blooming at the same time. Great for my vegetable garden, I am weeks ahead of where I was at this point last year. I have been trying to keep a visual record of the wild orchids of this region. Normally, the first orchids would just be ending now, but they have been over for about 2 weeks. I actually have some new orchi de boucs blooming on my property...they are called goat orchids or lizard orchids in English (himantoglossom hircinum). Pretty spectacular plants that can get about two and a half feet tall with spikes of wild flowers with long tongues. I also have some bee orchids (ophrys apifera) in bloom now next to the barn. This property was used as pasturage for cows for years and as the ground loses its cow produced over fertility, it becomes more and more orchid friendly.
anacamptis pyramialis
serapias vomercea
The forest and the fields around here are home to about 18 different species and hybrids. The pyramid orchids (anacamptis pyramidalis) are beginning to bloom. They have cone shaped clusters of hot pink flowers and can be very profuse. My friends across the valley have a lawn full of serapis (serapis vomeracea) which I have rarely seen any where else.

orchis purpurea
limadorum abortiva
  I have tried to carry my camera on bike trips and taken the dog for hikes to the valley bottom through the forest where there is a pretty untouched flood plain along the creek. That's where I have found some pretty impressive groups of Orchis purpurea. So far my most exciting find has been a limodore...(limodorum abortiva) which is a saphrophytic plant with no chlorophyll. The one I photographed had a 2 foot tall spike, no leaves, just a sturdy dark purple stem rising out of the damp ground topped with a spike of violet flowers. There were fields full of early purple orchids (orchis mascula) but with the heat, they came and went in a 
week! This won't be the last post in this series this year because there are a few varieties just beginning to appear. I have just discovered an entirely new area, almost right under my nose...well about a 2 kilometer hike. A series of man made ponds linked together by a system of canals at the bottom of the forest. I knew they were there, but I didn't know how to get access to the area.
I found the entrance to the trail on the local topographical map, then used google earth to scout it out before I took off with the dog.
Yesterday, I didn't have a camera, but I found hangman and frog orchids and I few others I had already photographed...
I am going back tomorrow with a camera!

1 comment:

mud_rake said...

Great photos and information. As you know, our 'spring' took forever to arrive. We still have tulips in bloom as well as lilacs on the bushes. It rains every day and has done so for the past 3 weeks. Six more rainy days forecast this week.

Apparently your French weather and ours are the antithesis of each other. How very strange.