Monday, 4 July 2016

Greater Butterfly Orchids

Mingary Castle in its refurbished splendour is seen here from this morning's 11.45 Tobermory ferry sailing, on a trip to the dentist occasioned by a missing filling. The dentist's surgery is at the top of the hill at the end of the High Street, but I crossed the road from the pavement when I spotted....

....what was obviously a butterfly orchid. In fact there were several of these delicate flowers, all at the peak of their blooming.

There are two sorts of butterfly orchid and they illustrate the pains faced by amateurs like me in trying to identify things. The flower of the lesser is slightly whiter than that of the greater, but the only real way to tell them apart.... to look closely at the pollinia. In the lesser they run roughly parallel and are closer together, in the greater they diverge.

The 'pollinia'? Yes, well, apparently they're the two greenish strips which hang just under the hood of the flower, arrowed in this photograph - these ones clearly diverge. To see them, one had to kneel down and get right up to the flower. Little wonder passers by on foot and in their cars were giving me some strange looks.

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