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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Rare Chlorantha Bee Orchids found

I had a message from Jane F today she had seen 4 "White" Bee Orchids amongst the colony of 43 I had initially discovered (on a lunch break from work, no time to fully survey the area). Jane had gone to take a look and not only found a lot more Bee Orchids, an additional 97, now totalling c140. An incredible tally and the largest colony I know in the Lowestoft area, but she'd also found this rare form too. I went to take a look this afternoon and I now had the time to do a full count and I too counted around 140. With several by the start of the path and many more on the west side of the track too. I then discovered the "White" Bee Orchids, they were the rare form of "Chlorantha" Bee orchids and they were absolute stunners!! One was near the second corner of the fence on the east side of the track, while the other 2 had been sadly squashed (probably by a Rabbit or Fox) and were slightly further east just by the fence. They were really striking plants and a great find by Jane, very well done, a fantastic discovery! They had striking white lateral sepals, yellow petals and a bright- greenish- yellow lip with a faint white "ghost pattern" on it. The other White Bee Orchid was well away from the others and was found by the entrance path (from the west of the site) at the bottom and it was on the strip of grass by the fence, just 6 posts from the end.


James Emerson said...

Congratulations on the chlorantha Bee Orchids. I have been to a couple of sites recently where I have had Bee Orchids in the past and haven't seen any - possibly they are a bit late this year?

Peter Ransome said...

Thanks James, Bee Orchids can be a little sporadic in their appearances older colonies can quickly die away. A colony I was monitoring at Gunton completely disappeared a few years ago & I haven't seen them since.