Thursday, 25 March 2010

Still More Flowers

Are you fed up yet with the floral theme?
Looking like a common Dandelion, this glorious little jewel of a flower is actually called Reichardia tingitana. The dark, central area of the flowers makes them stand out among the Dandelions.
I was most excited about the next flower. As we were looking around the scrub which surrounds the Cross at the top of the hill, there were several, small, pinkish-looking flower spikes poking out of the ground. Closer inspection revealed a magical and fantastic little gem of a plant. The Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera).
A member of the family of Bee Orchids, it has no scent or nectar to attract the insects which pollinate it. Instead, it relies on mimicking the insect and fooling it into thinking it's a mate. What a beautiful little flower.
Another plant, new to me, was equally spectacular and bizarre. This time, a parasitic species which has no chlorophyll with which to produce it's energy, so parasitises it's host plant, taking what it needs. There are dozens of types of Broomrapes, differing depending on their choice of host plant. These are called Slender Broomrape (Orobanche gracilis var. gracilis) and grows on the roots of various members of the Pea family.
The tall flower spikes are beautiful, but get closer, and the individual flowers are rather beautiful and not a little strange.
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