Monday 28 July 2014

Violet Helleborine

Yesterday I had to go to Winchester again and again I made the most of being in Hampshire and made a small detour to look for Violet Helleborine, which would be a new orchid species for me. There was a site I'd heard of not many miles to the east where they grow along the road verges in a residential area, so a bit of a drive by job really. It was very early in the morning and there wasn't really enough light. Most of my photos didn't turn out at all well but a few were okay. I was really pleased to catch a wasp nectaring on one of the spikes and coming away with the pollinia firmly attached to its head.

Violet Helleborine - Epipactis Purpurata

Wasp (can't tell which species) pollinating Violet Helleborine flower

She spent a while trying to rub this large mass of pollen and pollinia off with her legs but was a bit clumsy seeming to be drunk. The nectar of the orchid has narcotic properties and it certainly showed!

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