Monday, 21 July 2014

Epipactis Hybrids Part 4 etc

Basal leaf structure in E. Schmalhauseneii showing the purple staining.
also see another example below, but this time on green (helliborine) influenced stem.
(please click over the photo to enlarge)

I know its coming to the end of the very short season we have to search for the rare Cumbrian hybrids, the Epipactis Schmalhauseneii.  But thanks to Steve and Wal its been a question of "going out in style".  It was great to be able to include two more fantastic specimens which they found during their recent foraging!

Specimens 15 and 16 (hybrids)
I got chance to see these fine specimens at weekend and probably these may be the final two of the year, I think! They have already been named Specimen 15 and 16. They are certainly strong robust plants of which  No.15 actually contains no less than 56 flowers which is quite extraordinary with a usual max out recorded at 50 in the majority of plants.  Quite close to these specimens there are plenty of mixed Dark Red Helliborines and Broad Leaved as well, so you can see where the influences will have come from.   I have tried above to show at least three of the dominate features which apply when trying to diagnose these beauties.  Obviously more diagnostic features apply, but this is a start and I do hope to come up with more diagnostic photos and facts very soon.

With the addition of these two new specimens it brings a grand total of the rare hybrid on the Hutton Roof complex to at least 15 considered definite with several more which "the jury are out on at present".

Other beautiful special specimens of the Dark Red Helliborine (epipactis atrorubens) were also seen and recorded. 

Its now changing over to the time when I go out searching and recording the Broad Leaved Helliborines (epipactis helliborine).  Usually if I look hard and long for these I can sometimes find the beautiful rare viridiflora and purpurea variants.

Recording the many sites is all part of the monitoring
On Friday evening last the village "Burton Swifts Group" had their weekly meet to monitor the local Swifts, checking out the various nest sites along the Main Street within the village and it was a special time having established a further three sites (of which two we were not aware of before although we did have a suspicion of one of them).  Its always very difficult to actually count the Swifts in the sky, but we did agree that possibly there could have been at least 23 birds up in the air at once and you would see parties of between 10 and 15 birds coming low in follow my leader fashion, whilst screaming as Swifts do.  Further monitoring is planned for next Friday evening when at 2100hrs we shall be meeting outside the Burton Memorial Hall and everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy these "marvels".

Earlier that day (Friday last),  I had spent most of the day with the Arnside Naturalist up on the Hutton Roof complex and we did manage to see lots of really interesting stuff.  The highlight had to be the Holly Ferns and the Green and Black Spleenworts and the rare Birds Foot Sedge and later coming down the pavements we
Note the translucent dots in the leaf of the Montanum
(click over photo to see translucent dots)
called into check out the rare Pale St John's Wort (Hypericum Montanum), this had really gone over plus most of the flowerheads had also fallen victim to the deer, however it was interesting to show the party the "perforatum" within its leaves, which you would not normally associate with Montanum.  The only close by "perforatum" species would be the (Slender St Johns Wort - Hypericum Pulchrum), another interesting thing about these plants is that the colour is much yellower than you would expect with the Pale St. John's.  Finally we checked out the "colony of Broad Leaved Helliborines" which have in the passed showed lots of individual specimens showing the variant colours of  "purpurea".  Its looks very much like "Specimen 15" could well abort again this year, the buds are already small and look like they could be receeding.  We did actually see a Broad Leaved Helliborine coming into flower on one of the lower pavements, but only the bottom couple of flowers actually opened up.

"The Old Soldier"
Again during our walk it was interesting to note several very interesting Dark Red Helliborines (E. atrorubens) which I have noted for further observations.

I showed the party "The Old Soldier" which is natural limestone sculpture found on the Crags, but prior to the walk I also showed them photos of it and especially the "enhanced version" (shown here) to try and pick out the "features of the bedraggled face" with its battle scars, but still enjoying smoking his pipe. You do not see the feature until water is poured over the face which then brings out the highlights.

Probably another special highlight had to be the "Raging Sea pavement" high on the Common.  After combating the struggle to gain access to the hidden pavement, everyone seemed so impressed with the fabulous "turbulence" portrayed within its many features, especially the twenty or more "depression holes" showing the runnel features to all sides of each individual "black holes" which where spread out at various sections of the magnificent feature.

The Raging Sea Pavement with its 20 plus Runnel holes
This is a photo of a "green stemmed" = Helliborine parent influence, with
the obvious signs of atrorubens creeping in with the purple sheath to stem,
purple vertical lines, together with purple base and again the trailing edge to basal.
(Please click over photo to enlarge)