Monday, 27 July 2015

Epipactis Atrorubens - Lemon Petalled and other Variants

After going to fair lengths talking about the Schmalhauseneii and also the fragile small green specimens over the past few days, maybe its time I spoke more about the variants, especially the "lemon petalled variants".

After five year observations and up until last year, I can't even remember recording a single variant on Hutton Roof complex that had "Lemon Coloured Petals" then last year I did manage to record four separate specimens over two separate pavements, these plants were so attractive to the eye and it was later decided we would call these the variant Lutescens and soon after we changed the name to "Palens".  Below is a example from last year of what met the criteria of the Palens variant with lemon coloured petals against a red sepal, also the stem could be green or purple but more on the side of greeny. The size of the plant would only be to a max of 10".  Also the boss and epichile would be creamy coloured.  Here below is a photo from last year showing a example of the Lutescens/Palans variant:
Epipactis atrorubens variant: Lutescens/Palans - Hutton Roof July 2014
From this photo above you can so easily establish the greenish stem, the lemony coloured petals and the creamy coloured bosses and epichile.

This year (2015) I am finding lots of variants which are part way.  Like I have already said last year I discovered only 4 small 10" max Lutescens/Palens (3 on one pavement and 1 on another pavement). But this year I have been so fortunate to be able to count no less than 15 specimens which all have the yellow petals and the majority of the specimens have been 18" and larger in size (compared to the smaller versions last year).  The ones this year have been far stronger plants and are so attractive with their yellow petals, although most of them (not all) fail to meet the creamy boss/epichile feature, although this is showing to a lesser degree.  A typical example of the ones I am finding now (2015) are like this one shown here in the photo below:

Lemon Petalled Variant - Possibly a large Palens?
So this sort of thing just had never been noticed previous until this year.  The plant in this photograph is about 18" and does have a green stem, although I have found many more of which some have a purple stem.  They are a stronger plant this year also.  Again they don't seem to be situated too far away from either a Schmalhauseneii or a Broad Leaved Helliborine. The 15 approx specimens which I have located this year are situated between two separate pavements which are about 1/2 mile in distance apart.

To see all the 15 approx "Lemon Petalled" variants showing slight differences in sepal redness/purplish colours makes them look so special, but even more special when you look at this one I found yesterday. The sepal colouring is much darker (probably darker simply because it is close to canopy in turn restricting the light and causing photosynthesis, making its sepals much darker)

Even more striking colouring into the mix when the plant is close to canopy like No.40 here.
So even in the two photos above you can see whereby the top photo shows a typical "green stem" plant, yet the one directly above here has the "purple coloured stem" which again could probably give some indication to a atrorubens or helliborine influence and obviously if that was to be proved the plants would lose their current status of "variants" and become some sort of distant "hybrid"

Going back to 2014 a different sort of "Palans" variant showed with a "viride" specimen showing almost green everywhere with the exception of the epichile and bosses which were creamy colour. But if you looked ever so close you could actually see a few "minute purple specks" on the bosses and epichile which took away the "pure viride" and brought everything back the atrorubens.  Just check the photo below:

Atrorubens Variant (varide) - Hutton Roof 2014 - Click over to enlarge

Sadly this particular plant has not developed this year, although growth did appear and we put a cage over it for its protection, only the basal leaves came through. No stem or flower. As far as I am aware this variant has never been recorded before.

Another variant which seems to be causing a lot of excitement this year is the "light buff coloured specimens" which are coming through.  I have had lots of light phase specimens throughout the pavements but these two seem to be a little more special than the rest. Below is a photo of Specimen No.50, it grows at about 10" in height:

A mega rare variety now and causing much interest is the  "Buff coloured Variant"
(Click over to enlarge)

So after all these variant examples above I would now like to finish of with a great Schmalhauseneii I found this morning and which is now referenced to Specimen 54 (Schmal):

Schmal Spec No.54 - Hutton Roof - July 2015