Saturday, 25 July 2015

Finding a straight forward Atrorubens these days!

How could they get much better than this? (Click over to enjoy even more)
Yes that was the position yesterday when friends from Bristol and Gloucester came up to check out the Epipactis.  We were quickly faced with the dilemma of what was supposed to be the "norm"! in other words, Is it becoming more and more difficult to find a straight atrorubens these days (only kidding)! but visitors are remarking on this all the time and can be forgiven for thinking that. Because at times you get overpowered (pleasantly) trying to identify is it a hybrid (schmalhauseneii) is it a pallans/lutescens variety or is it one of these "in betweens" a bit of this and bit of that.  The mind boggles at times with all the possible and probable in between equasions. In fact it is still on the back burner that there could even be a hybrid crossing back involved (F1), especially with all the light green small fragile specimens that have started to appear in the last two years.  Its a mystery what's going on!

For it all to makes sense, we need someone who is keen enough to want to do a phd on all this, or alternatively if we were fortunate to get someone who is interested enough and who may have access to the necessary facilities to test the chromosomes of some of these individual plants, and until we do get some help in this I dont think we are going to get much further on with the hybrid argument.  For now its more of a question of identifying to the best of my ability, noting any changes on a year by year basis.  I have already been doing this now for over three years and starting to just about get the hang of it all.  But like today we have found so many additional (possible Schmals), (possible variants eg Palens) and lots of other oddballs that its become slightly overpowering to even begin to try and take it all in within one day.  I will have to pay several more visits over the coming days to try and evaluate these specimens and to try and make some sense of it all. We are getting there but it will be a very very slow job!

For now though here are some of the photos of some of the "gems" from yesterdays outing.

Here is a new Schmal established today as No.27
This is Schmal No.23 a very light specimen (caged for its protection)
A pale variety of atrorubens
Schmal No.18 with a incredible 55 flowers
Another overladen atrorubens
Black Aphid attack 2015
Besides the devastation to this plant, I have also noticed that Schmal No. 8 which without doubt was a stunning plant last year fully developed this year to be overcome by Aphids which have made a right mess of the plant causing it to die off prematurely and showing complete infestation just like this plant.  Also noticed taking advantage of the aphids are large black ants, which are perhaps 3 times bigger than your common garden ant, yet slightly smaller than the brown wood ant.  I cannot find any description to these in my references. It was also mentioned by Alan (Gloucester) that this Black Aphid infestation has also happened for the first time in his part of the country.

Nice to finish off with this one . Another very light green possible