June 23rd-Bryn Euryn
I photographed my first sighting of a Pyramidal Orchid on June 5th, where it was growing through a complimentary patch of Common Rockroses. Since then they have come on apace and there are many more showing their beautiful heads amongst the long grass that fringes the summit of the Bryn.
Ten days later the rush of blooms had slowed and whilst there were still a good number to be found, they are more scattered and most significantly smaller than the earlier ones were.
Pyramidal Orchid– Anacampsis pyramidalis; Welsh – Teigeirian bera
This orchid may be found flowering from early June through to early August, but here it is definitely at its peak now and flowering abundantly.
In general, the Pyramidal Orchid is found on grassland, usually on lime or chalk, but also on dunes. It is locally common in most of Britain, but rare in Scotland.
The plant is so-named for the shape of the flowerhead: a workaday name for such an exotic-looking bloom I think, although it does help to distinguish it from the Fragrant Orchid, with which it may be confused.
The plant’s success and abundance may be due to its relationship with insects. Each flower has a long thread-like spur that holds a generous supply of nectar that attracts day and night flying butterflies and moths. When the nectar is accessed, modified stamens stick to the tongue of the insect that straighten during the insect’s flight and are then pushed directly onto the stigma of the next flower visited. This results in viable seeds being produced in 95% of the flowers.
Crossing the hill’s summit and walking through the ‘downland’ area, more Orchids are blooming prolifically, these being Common Spotted Orchids.
Common Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii; Welsh Teigeiren Brych
The flowers vary from white to pale or dark purple and are patterned with dots or small blotches of a darker purple.
The leaves are narrow and usually dark-spotted.