Winding Meadow of Orchids

Posted On: 10/06/2024

Andy Swan led another hugely informative walk on a sunny June afternoon, this time looking at wildflowers in the beautiful Winding Meadow at Valewood.  Among the sprawling carpet of bright yellow tormentil, three species of delicate pink orchids stand upright.  Unusually, they form a hybridising community here and Andy demonstrated how the flowers’ tiny male reproductive ‘pollinia’ attach themselves to visiting pollinator insects with a special glue and then bend over ready to fertilise the female parts of the next flower visited.  As if staged, a bee with its face covered in several of these tiny lollipop structures alighted at the entrance to one of the flowers in front of the group, and stood still to be photographed.   A fascinating afternoon.

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