Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Lempet 55 no longer with us plus other Orchids

Tuesday 25th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1200hrs

Mapped all the Broad Leaved Helleborines along the escarpment areas 23 in total of which 9 are inactive through predation and 14 are active within flower and bud or bud only.

It is like playing Russian roulette some days going up on this particular part of Hutton Roof not knowing just what to expect and at times it just a question of waiting your turn!  let me try and explain. Today it must have been my turn or should I say the turn of our splendid specimen No.55, I went to check on the second most precious of "lempets" which is No.55 - dark green stem and stands at 20" in height and has 40 flowers (remember our most prestige No.66 (green stem fell victim of "rust" which attached the rootstock some 3 weeks earlier).  Well this time with 55 which is also a close by specimen of 66 has either been attacked at the root stock or alternatively it has been trampled on.  It is more than probable it has been attacked at the base by slugs although to be honest with you when I see predation by slugs it is normally a straight cut across not unlike the deer, and usually a slug will cut further up the stem and very rarely at the ground level, and more important there is usually a trace of "slug slime" which generally gives the show away by evidence.  On this occasion slug slime was not present and neither was the cut straight across and neither was the cut partway up the stem, so I hold reservation on "slug" predation.  So I thought perhaps it's been trampled over which may well prove to be the case although, if the plant was trampled you would normally see damage both at the base and also further up the stem as well and not just at the very base of the plant.  So for now I am left wondering!  but what a setback for the programme!  Fortunately lots and lots of pollination will have already taken place with the many bees and hover flies which will have serviced the plant.  However sadly the seed situation will now be lost.  I did check the ovaries which are quite bulging and did split the ovary to check the seed bank, but unfortunately it looks far too early and as yet the multitude of seed are still creamy and congealed and have not reached the position of drying out prior to natural distribution. I did last check the plant maybe four days ago and all was well, so obviously this setback has only occurred in recent days. 

Here is a photo of this years (July 8th 2017) Lempet No.55 which shows the plant at its very best. 

Specimen Lempet 55 on 8th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

This is again of 55 showing a more close up of the Lemon-Petalled flowers

And this was the specimen today (see photo below), flattened over to the floor and broke off and possibly the victim of a slug predation at the base or a flattening by someone or something treading on the specimen. Whichever the specimen was loose to the ground and I did retrieve the damaged specimen (may I add under permit/licence) which it is now to be used for ongoing studies and likely for "dna" profiling studies.

Here is a photo showing the full damaged plant, and followed by close ups of the base of the same plant.

This was No.55 collected today (Click to enlarge)
If you click over to enlarge you will see the packed bulging ovaries

The cut is not representative of neither deer and hare and is more likely to be either slug predation or trampling

Showing a split ovary from No.55 and the seed bank which at the moment is still very moist

So now we can move on and check out Specimen Lempet No.74 (photo below) which still looks stunning and is safe from any predation and seems to be liking its new home (security cage around it) and would still warrant a good photo, but did not want to disturb so took this photo whilst the specimen kept caged. 

Specimen No. 74 (Lemon Petalled) today 25th July 2017
Below shows the new "Pallans" (100 yards NW of boulder) which I found a couple of weeks ago and I decided the check out the ovaries on this today and very pleased they are bulging out nicely as I am sure you will agree.

Showing bulged ovaries of the new "Pallans" 

Below is "Escarp Juniper" which is still showing well today and quite late now for a atrorubens, but this one always likes to be "late".

Escarp Juniper hiding within his Juniper canopy (Click over to enlarge)
Escarp Juniper still showing well today (Click over to enlarge)

This is always a little beauty which is set within its own limestone shallow gryke and does have little beautiful offspring at only a foot or two away.  Of particular interest is how the edges of its leaves and either burnt or have taken on rust!

Interesting small helleborine showing burn or rust to the edges of its leaves