Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wedding Fever.

It's getting exciting, the wedding is approaching and I got my suit cleaned so I'll look respectable. I hear you say, you can't be going! Tomorrow's wedding is what I'm on about. A day that is far more important than Fridays hoohaa. Barry and Louise are tying the knot at Leeds Castle, scene of many an important ceremony in the past.

I wandered over to Sandwich Bay this morning, and in between gusts of NE wind took a few pictures of the splendid Green-winged Orchids there.

Green-veined Orchid (Anacamptis morio)

Unlike the Early Purple Orchids the leaves are un-spotted and the plants are somewhat smaller.

I actually prefer the alternative name of Green-veined Orchid, which is rather more descriptive of the flowers.

We are fortunate in Kent to have so many species of Orchids. Nationally the Green-winged Orchid is mainly confined to the southern half of England. Despite being locally abundant in some areas, it is in decline and now occurs in half of the 10 km squares where it was previously recorded.
Getting up close the green veins or stripes that give it name can be seen on the two lateral sepals. The scientific name, morio, means “fool” or “jester” as the hooded appearance of the flower resembles a jesters hat.

Once in the Orchid mood I popped in to Samphire Hoe to see the Early Spider Orchids that are so prolific there.

It might be that it is still quite early in the season, but my impression was that they hadn't done as well this year as in some previous years, and that the spikes I found were comparatively small compared to some that I found a few years back.

Early Spider Orchid (.Ophrys sphegodes)

I did wonder if it was the extremely dry conditions. Paul Holt wasn't around, I must ask him if my memory is correct or if I'm suffering from the "it used to be better" memory syndrome.

As I wrote last year the natural pollinator was the Early Mining Bee, Andrena haemorrhoa, but I failed to find any this time.

As I lay on the path trying to get a good low angle for my photographs, while I shielded the plant from the wind a train went by. I could help wondering if any one would report seeing a body lying next to the fence as they passed the Hoe.

The individual flowers never cease to impress.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Early Spider Orchid flowering success was found to directly correlate to spring rainfall by Michael Hutchings in his 30 year study of a colony in Sussex.