Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Roadside Wild Flowers


The first day after the Covid19 lockdown eased the weather was awful and nobody went anywhere. The next day was much better, overcast but not extremely wet or windy. I took the opportunity on my way to the supermarket to check on a roadside colony of orchids at Humeau, a bit further down the Claise from us.

Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis (Fr. Orchis pyramidal).
Colony of Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis in a hay meadow.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
These Pyramidal Orchids in the hay meadow just off the road were the stars of the show, but within days of me photographing them they were gone. The field had been mown.

White Helleborine Cephalanthera damasonium (Fr. Céphalanthère blanche).
White Helleborine Cephalanthera damasonium.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Past its best.

Lady's Bedstraw Galium verum (Fr. Gaillet jaune).
Lady's Bedstraw Galium verum.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Tassle Hyacinth Leopoldia comomsa (Fr. Muscari à toupet).
Tassle Hyacinth Leopoldia comosa.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A very vividly coloured and striking looking plant, that I get requests to identify every year from members of the public who've spotted it on a roadside near them and are amazed, and sure they've never seen it before.

Common Twayblade Neottia ovata (Fr. Listère ovale).
Common Twayblade Neottia ovata.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A discreet and overlooked orchid.

Monkey Orchid Orchis simia (Fr. Orchis singe).
Monkey Orchid Orchis simia.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A species which often forms quite large colonies on the roadside, and will hybridise readily with Lady Orchid O. purpurea (Fr. Orchis pourpre).

Bath Asparagus Ornithogalum pyrenaicum (Fr. Ornithogale des Pyrénées).
Bath Asparagus Ornithogalum pyrenaicum.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Not closely related to asparagus, but for a couple of weeks at this time of year it can sometimes be found in the market sold as Asperges des bois ('wood asparagus'). Personally I've never found enough of it to feel comfortable about foraging for it, and, having tasted it, don't think it's worth bothering.

Hoary Plantain Plantago media (Fr. Plantain moyen).
Hoary Plantain Plantago media.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A rather weather beaten example of this unexpectedly lovely plant, with its palest pink plume. This is another plant I get enquiries from the public about.

Greater Butterfly Orchid Platanthera chlorantha (Fr. Platanthère verdâtre).
Greater Butterfly Orchid Platanthera chlorantha.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Another species that was past its best.


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8 comments:

Sheila said...

Although I feel certain you've answered this question before, I'll ask again. Do wild orchids need to die off naturally, including their leaves, in order to spread? Also do they go to seed and recreate that way? Kind of sickening to think of those beauties just being mowed down, but perhaps it's necessary sometimes.

Susan said...

By mowing them off they are not being given a chance to fully build up a bulb for next year because without a full leaf rosette they are not sending the full amount of nutrients to storage in the bulb. Most orchids will self-seed very effectively if allowed to do so, but their seed takes a long time to mature and they are often mowed off before it is mature.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

We went up the Crags yesterday to look for Fly Orchids as our local 'you' had pictured one on his facebook page. No look in spotting one though but it is a vast area.

Simon Leather said...

Lovely

Susan said...

I got a couple of Fly Orchids closer to Chaumussay a few days ago, but they are nearly finished here, and not easy to spot at the best of times.

Susan said...

Thank you.

Rhodesia said...

Interesting post. Thanks Susan. Cheers, stay safe, Diane

Susan said...

I imagine you've got a similar mix down your way.

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