Monday, 28 July 2008

Anything for the weekend sir? A rare form of Broad Leaved Helleborine...Var.Viridiflora

The rare form Var.Viridiflora No 1.

Var.Viridiflora No.2

Another view of the Var.Viridiflora

A normal Broad leaved Helleborine!

Checking out Cloud Wood LRWT for most of the afternoon, I counted an excellent number of at least 160 Broad leaved Helleborines (Epipactis Helleborine) along the rides of the wood.
As neared the end of my count, I noticed a different coloured Helleborine species with a small group of six Broad leaved Helleborines.
Alarm bells started to ring straight away, as this plant looked totally different to the other nearby orchids.
Although slightly smaller, and the flower heads green in colouration, I thought that this plant might be a new orchid species for Leicestershire, and was possibly Green leaved Helleborine?
As I have never seen this species before I took a number of photos of the orchid, and then spoke to a couple of fellow Orchid hunters who had just arrived at the wood.
There conclusion was the same as mine, and couldn't really tell what the orchid was?
Further along the path I found another Helleborine which looked like the previous one, and again the ID was inconclusive.I took a few more photos of the plants and then returned home to check out the orchid via my numerous reference books.
At home I phoned Sean Cole (Fellow Orchid hunter) about the Helleborine and give him a brief description of the plants and it sounded good for Green leaved Helleborine.
We decided to meet back at the wood later in the evening to ID the Helleborines.
At around 7.00pm I met Sean and his wife Linda back at Cloud Wood which Sean then ID them as Broad leaved Helleborines but of the rare variety Var.viridiflora and was a tick to boot for Sean!
Although I was a little disappointed of not finding a new species for Leicestershire nationally this was probably a far more important sighting and showed just how good Cloud Wood really is for orchids.
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