Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Get a niff of this!

As it's name implies Kingsdown Road, in which the Hidden House is situated runs down to Kingsdown, It is no longer a through road, but is open to walkers and cyclists.

It has some good names connected to it, "Hogsbush", just as you leave St Margaret's, "Old Stairs Hill", drops down towards Kingsdown and Ottey Bottom, on the edge of the Golf Course. Just before you get to Ottey Bottom there is a splendid bit of chalk grassland by the side of the road, that is blessed with a colony of Fragrant Orchids, which are in flower at the moment.

The are no longer just "Fragrant Orchids" but "Common Fragrant Orchids" as the species has been split into three. The Common Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) is a flower of chalk grassland, and where it occurs in large colonies the fragrance can be quite overpowering in the evening.

The individual flowers have long spurs where nectar is produced, and only insects with a sufficiently long proboscis can reach it. Pollinators include butterflies, such as the Large Skipper and both day and night flying moths, such as Six-spot Burnet and hawk-moths. Moths may be the most important ans the fragrance is particularly strong in the evening. As the visiting insect sips the nectar the pollinia attaches to the proboscis, fixed by the sticky viscidia. The insect then carries this to another flower ot plant. Pollination is very efficient and seed is set in large quantities. Vegetative reproduction also occurs.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Our Fragrant's are having a fine time this year, and the colony has expanded to cross the road since I have known it. We have three species all growing together and hybridising like mad. I got some nice pictures of a Heath Fritillary butterfly sitting on a Fragrant Orchid.