Mountain orchids

Feeling that not many will be interested in reading my essay on the ‘deep simple double morphophysiological’ seed dormancy in the middle of the winter, I am continuing the fragrant journey started a while ago (read about Nigritella if you missed it). Back on the mountain we also found for the first time a really small population of Orchis ustulata, the burnt tip orchid. It was growing at about 1300 m elevation, on the rocky slope of a narrow valley (look up and to the right ;), in the company of a few weather-shaped larches (Larix decidua), and other typical species typical of vegetated screes.

Orchis ustulata reportedly grows wild throughout Central Europe (up to the Leningrad region in Russia). It is a small orchid, 20-25 cm tall, with spikes of white with purple spots flowers, delicate, and also fragrant; used to be an abundant orchid in the British Isles on undisturbed chalk and limestone grassland, but due to several factors it has become another species to join the growing list of rare and endangered species!

On the other hand, Gymnadenia conopsea plants were splurging over an entire meadow at about 1800 m elevation in the Postăvaru Massif (part of the Barsei Mountains/Carpathians).
Spiked inflorescences in various colours from white to light pink and purple were quite impressive and the beauty of scenery made us linger for quite a while in the area. Not to mention their light clove-like fragrance!

Gymnadenia conopsea

Gymnadenia conopsea (the fragrant orchid) – in a wet sub-alpine meadow in the Carpathian Mts.

They were sharing the place in a joyous mix with Trollius europaeus, Alchemilla, Geum rivale, Bistorta, Campanula, Astrantia major, and other smaller species hard to see in the image like: Viola, Thymus, and Soldanella hungarica (alas, no ripen seeds on the last one)…

Gymnadenia conopsea1

2 replies
    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thank you; they are so beautiful that after getting very close one would like to remain there and take endless pictures…

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