Monday, 4 July 2016

Epipactis Atrorubens with lots of variety (from 4th July 2016)

Dark Green Fritillary (Click over to enlarge)

Wednesday 6th July 2016 - Hutton Roof

A nice dry morning (for a change) so I headed to the far side today to check out a couple of fruitful pavements to see how the Schmals were going on. On the way had many butterflies on the wing and I saw three of the lovely Dark Green Fritillaries, Common Blue (male), Ringlets and several of the lovely limestone Graylings

Grayling – (1st July 2011)

Graylings must have hatched today,
On the limestone pavements and on the scree,
You watch them flutter, fanciful and free.
Then they come down to settle on the ground,
With wings not open but tightly bound,
Rest for a second but soon he falls upon his side.
As if struck down to die

The bird situation has now gone really quiet for most species and I heard small family groups of Willow Warblers calling with "hou whit" contact calls, also a party of tits and another party with young Nuthatches.  The most striking calls I seem to be getting at the moment on Hutton Roof are Common Whitethroats and had two singing away from different sites. It always intrigues me how they seem to be fairly quiet in the early part of the season and come to as time goes on!

A Common Lizard ran across my path and I managed to view it for over five minutes.

A couple of areas of Angular Solomon's Seal (gone over) were recorded, noted the beautiful Squinancywort had starting lining the edges to some of the pathway, also Meadowsweet and Dropwort were showing. Checked out our only population of Northern Bedstraw which is quite rare in these parts. 

Northern Bedstraw (Click over to enlarge)

First I checked out Schmalhauseneii No.5a ( may have been original No.5 but more likely a new plant this year and subsequently now called 5a.  It certainly has come on over the week and looks really well has you can see in the following photo.  It has come through as tandem which is very common with Schmals although if you look at the subordinate you wonder if that will ever make the category of Schmal, so its just a question of keeping a eye on that one, but I am sure at the end of the day it will have the same genes!

The Schmal measures 21" and lies well down in the gryke.  It bears a collossal 68 flowers (although most of these are still in bud. Purple wash twisted stem.

This years beautiful Schmalhausenenii No. 5a come through in tandem (Click over photo to enlarge)
I had almost given up on Schmal No.4 this year, but sure enough its has come through again this year and plenty of evidence of this years growth but sadly it has been predated and all thats left is part of the stem and lower leaves which are further down within the gryke. 

The only other Schmal that has survived at this side of Hutton Roof is No.19 and 20 (see photo below)

Photo shows Schmal No.19 and 20  (Click over to enlarge)
Yes Schmal 19 and 20 are within about 10 yards of No.5a and when they came through back in 2014 they came through as a trio and throughtout the season they heads were bowed over because they could not stand tall because of the very large quantity of flowers on their heads.  The photo above on the left shows from 2015 when they again came through in tandem and the photo on right is as they were today.  You can still see two plants but just look how much they have weakened down.

Not too far away I found another interesting plant which I have added to my agenda of which I have shown a photo below.  Its interesting because this particular area always produces lovely coloured atrorubens and I am sure the reason for this is because they are close to canopy, but what makes this interesting is the light green stem. 

Specimen No.56  (Click over to enlarge)
A beautiful atrorubens (Click over to enlarge)

Beech Fern (Click over to enlarge)

Monday 4th July 2016 - Hutton Roof

No.55 Epipactis atrorubens  (Click over to enlarge)

As part of my Epipactis rounds this morning, this lovely speciman is usually the first plant I make for, I have it on record for the past three years (2014,2015,2016).  When I first found the plant in 2014 it was only about 10" high, and by last year it came through at 14" whereby this year it has increased even further in size to 18" and bears 21 fabulous looking flowers.  It is a very special plant with many very light features especially the striking lemon coloured petals.  In 2014 I labelled it of the "Lutescens" variety (or palens which could be correct) however because of the continuing growth of the plant I have decided it best for now at least to relabel it to Specimen No.55 and classified it as a "Lemon Petalled Variant".  It has now been showing at its very best and been out for over one week. Close by to this plant are several more which are also likely to take on this "Lemon Petalled" feature which may or may not be just has strong has in this particular specimen. These other plants are estimated to be about one week off their best.

I have only found the Lemon Petalled variety on Hutton Roof since 2014 and since then it seems to be spreading throughout the area. I thought at first it had something to do with a local mineral situation but I am finding these in several different areas and not in just one particular area (although one area does have far more than the rest), although I have found specimens on at least three separate pavements over a area of some one mile apart in distance.

 (Click over to enlarge)
There are several suspect epipactis in the close vicinity to this area which I will be keeping my eye on over the next three weeks. Already in the surrounding area I am currently studying at least ten confirmed hybrids (Epipactis schmalhauseneii). 

It's nice now and again to show a photo of a "almost" straight forward Atrorubens (Click over to enlarge)

Yes it may at first glance look like a straight forward atrorubens and it probably is! (still being researched), yet within one metre of this is a confirmed Schmal (see the next photo showing it in a cage).  
Another Schmal in progress - first recorded last year (2015) and this is how it is so far this year
(Click over to enlarge)

Hopefully more news on Epipactis and the Schmals over the coming days, please come back