Monday, 7 July 2014

Epipactis Atrorubens and their possible Hybrids - Schmalhauseneii Part 3

Specimen No.8 - 18" Spike - Hutton Roof Complex
Today I decided to try out another pavement on which was very fragmented and in the past has not been that productive when I last did some survey work.  But a couple of days ago I had been tipped off by a friend (thanks Steve M) that there were some exceptional "spikes" showing this year and the information was absolutely spot on!

Over a selected area of some 40 square yards approx I had no less than 80 spikes, the majority obviously falling within the standard range of the Dark Red Helliborines (epipactis atrorubens).  Yet doing a full search among them it did not take long to find some fabulous large specimens to which a couple fell within the range of possible hybrids. 

The first which was of particular interest to me was the one shown here on the left and this specimen I named No. 8 

It measured from 18" in height and was crammed with 34 individual flowers which really look well against a unusual green light hairy stem.  The leaf structure also had me thinking eg: the helliborine wide shaped "spiralling" up the stem leaves which where showing none of the purple tints and purple leaf edgeing to what you would have expected within a normal atrorubens.  I also took photographs of the deep green well grooved (or lined) leaves which you can see are rather different to the standard atrorubens.

Showing the narrow wrinkled boss
Also I took photos of the strong base of the stem and the accompanying basal leaf structure which on this specimen tended to be rather smaller than you would expect (to normal hybrid widths!), yet clearly shows on the stem along the strong presence of the purple atrorubens give away.  Also another factor but coming down on the atrorubens side of things are the greenish lightly washed purple hairy ovaries. 

Bearing in mind all the factors I have previously mentioned, I am convinced that this particular specimen is going to be a good candidate for Schmalhauseneii.   

Below I have shown the photos of the stem and the leaf structure together showing the spiralling whilst advancing the stem.  And a good close up photo of the actual basal leaves and basal stem features.

Note large E. Helliborine like leaves and spiralling
with only purple showing purely on the outer edge of the basal leaf at the bottom,
although again you see the purple in the lower stem representative of a e.atrorubens
And here is a photo showing the strong deep green ridged lower leaf again typical of e.helliborine features on a e.atrorubens or hybrid specimen. 
Here you see the deep light and dark green  and heavy ridge lines of the lower leaf,
against the light lining of the basal leaf which is the only leaf with a light purple edging
although this can be seen better on the final photo below. 
And this final photo shows the true basal features and you can just make out the purple edging on the true basal leaf.  And confirms good typical purple of the lowest part of the stem as it hits the soil.
The final photo showing the true basal features.
This has been a outline from today's study on just one particular plant Specimen 8. 

And even more interesting today was finding the following specimens No. 9 and 10 which were growing alongside one another as you can see in the photograph below.
Tall 46 and 50 flowerhead - very pale etc etc etc

I noticed this pair and one or two other smaller specimens from that given area (some 20 square yards) where showing their "very light green" stems which in itself is so eye catching, yet combined with the "bright" lemony green ovaries which made the plant stand out from among the rest.  Although I have seen this sort of thing before its so rare in these parts.  I can only think that it will have something to do with the actual ground mineral compositions, although after saying that within maybe a metre or so of these there is some beautiful spikes of straight forward "burgundy" coloured Dark Red Helliborines with not the slightest hint of the light green colourings, and a couple of metres further on again and you come across further specimens of this light green phase. 

Here is a photo of Specimen 9 showing clearly the stem, ovaries and epichile and bosses. Worth noting here you see no red or purple wash to the stem of the ovary, again it is very lemony green colour. 

showing the very light green ovary colour and lacking any purple or red
on the ovary stem which adjoins the main stalk 
Now moving over to the base of the plant (below) you can see there is no hint whatsoever of any purple or red wash it seems to be pure "light green" throughout.

A photo showing the basal features of this plant.
So moving on now and finally I would love to show you this small plant which I had today.   This plant again is showing much unusual discolouration especially around the mouth of the flowerheads which are of a very light creamy colour.  Please check out the photos below.

Much variation over the day within the many beautiful epipactis atrorubens and their possible hybrids or even variants.  Lots and lots of work to be done now.  And off out again shortly to get among these little beauties.