CHALK FRAGRANT-ORCHID

COMMON FRAGRANT-ORCHID

Formerly known as Fragrant Orchid ssp. conopsea

Gymnadenia conopsea

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8pink
 
flower
flower8mauve
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZspiked
 
type
typeZspurred
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8fragrant
fragrant
sex
sexZbisexual
 

6th July 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Yorks. Photo: © RWD
The typically pink colour with a hint of purple of the flowers of Common Fragrant-orchid. The spurs are usually the longest of any of the Fragrant Orchids ([13] 14-16 [17]mm) and thin with it too., but there is not a great deal of difference in the lengths between the 3 differing species.


6th July 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Yorks. Photo: © RWD
Variation alba has white flowers and occurs fairly frequently. And the lower petal with 3 splayed lobes is more like those of Pyramidal Orchid than on any other Fragrant Orchid. These specimens are abiding by the often broken specification for the two lateral lobes - being to be thin, long and angled about 30° downwards (many other specimens here legally disobey this specification - probably because of the huge variability exhibited in most aspects by all three Fragrant-orchid species).


6th July 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Yorks. Photo: © RWD
The normal colour is pink. The two lateral sepals each side are usually angled down slightly, and just a millimetre in width (but these specifications can vary!).


6th July 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Yorks. Photo: © RWD


6th July 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Yorks. Photo: © RWD
The lateral spelas on this specimen are up to spec on relative lengths, but their width is rather wide - they are not slightly rolled up like newspapers.


6th July 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Yorks. Photo: © RWD


6th July 2016, Waitby Greenriggs, Kirkby Stephen, Yorks. Photo: © RWD
Liquid (rain water?) in the Spurs. It seems that the lateral sepals obtain their specified 1mm thinness by curling up like a rolled up newspaper.


31st July 2011, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
Common Fragrant-orchids can get quite tall, usually somewhere between 15 and 30cm, but can occasionally exceed 40cm. This one turning to seed at the bottom.


24th July 2013, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The lateral sepals on these specimens seem shorter than usual for Common Fragrant-orchid.


24th July 2013, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
Whereas the lateral sepals on this specimen look very wide even though they are partly rolled like a newspaper.


24th July 2013, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The sex organs under the split hood.


24th July 2013, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
Sex organs - which could be 2 anthers. The hood consists of a cowl which is split at the top, behind which is a central 'wing' curling over the top part of the split hood.


24th July 2013, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
This specimen has strongly reflexed lateral sepals but they are curled-up to look thin, unlike the very very wide ones in the photos above.


24th July 2013, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The lateral sepals make the inflorescence look streamlined like a Lightning jet plane.


24th July 2013, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The front lip splits into 3 lobes, with the central lobe being the longer. These lips are the most like those of Pyramidal Orchid of the 3 species.


31st July 2011, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The fruits with the ovary 'trapped' by 3, here brown-purplish, thin 'straps' which hold the orange-brown remains of the petals and sepals.


24th July 2013, Nob End SSSI, Ringley, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The swollen ovary contains the seeds for the next generation. Stem ribbed. It has a reticular surface. Paler-green triangular bracts nestle directly beneath the ovary (they were also present at the flowering stage).


If anyone thinks that any specimens on this page are other than Chalk Fragrant-orchid (aka Common Fragrant-orchid), then please let me know (and preferably submit some photos which definitely are Chalk Fragrant-orchid, especially if you have ID'd them by a genetic DNA scanner to be 100% certain, then your Author would be pleased to insert them here with acknowledgements).

IDENTIFICATION OF FRAGRANT ORCHIDS
All three species of Fragrant Orchid have a great propensity for their so-called 'identifying features' to overlap so much that quite often it is impossible to separate the three species. The identifying books don't help much either for there are at least 6 ID guides to separating the three species, but often they also disagree on which features are better for identifying them. The only fool-proof reliable way of identifying them for certain is by DNA analysis, whereupon the delineation between the three is clear-cut (it is by this means that the 3 species were split from just one species with 3 sub-species in the first place). But hardly anyone has a DNA analyser, let alone an affordable lightweight portable one for use in the field and even if they had, most plants have not yet been scanned or added to the DNA database (as far as your Author understands - as of March 2019).

Fragrant Orchids are possibly the hardest flowers to reliably and accurately identify in the field, and there are some that cannot. If any reader thinks I have mis-identified any, pleaase let me know which one(s) and what their real identities are - or if it is one of those unidentifiables and just needs deleting (I'll go and dig it up :-).

But a Fragrant Orchids itself, counting the 3 as just one, is easily identified as a Fragrant Orchid, the trouble only comes when trying to determine which one...

The identity of the Nob End SSSI specimens have been identified as belonging to Common/Chalk Fragrant-orchid, even the ones with strealined-jet shaped lateral sepals and those with with the extra-wide lateral sepals, such is the typical deviance of Fragrant-orchids from their design specification delineated in the numerous Fragrant-orchid identification keys. Nob End also has Marsh fragrant-orchid, but that flowers at a slightly differing time. Some experts say that the 3 species don't flower at the same time, but others say that you cannot rely on this! Most of the 3 Fragrant Orchids dont grow together anyway, some areas have only one species, some two (as in Nob End) and a few (Waitby Greenriggs) all three species, but not usually all flowering at the same time.

Easily confused with : all other Fragrant-orchids

Not to be semantically confused with : Flower () [a plant with similar name]

Easily mistaken for : Flower ()

Easily mis-identified as : Flower ()

Gymnadenia species form Inter-Genera Hybrids with several other Orchids:

  • (Gymnadenia conopsea × Dactylorhiza fuchsii) to produce X Dactylodenia heinzeliana which is found in scattered locations through the UK.
  • (Gymnadenia conopsea × Dactylorhiza maculata) to produce X Dactylodenia legrandiana which is mostly found in northern Britain but has been found scattered in Britain and Ireland.
  • (Gymnadenia conopsea × Dactylorhiza praetermissa) to produce X Dactylodenia wintoni which is found in Surrey and South Hants
  • (Gymnadenia conopsea × Dactylorhiza purpurella) to produce X Dactylodenia varia (??) which has not been confirmed
  • (Gymnadenia borealis × Coeloglossum viride) to produce X Gymnaglossum jacksonii which occurs sporadically in Southern England, Salop and County Antrim - which are like those of Gymnadenia but with inflorescences tinged green and with a much shorter spur.
  • (Gymnadenia borealis × Anacamptis pyramidalis to produce X Gymnanacaptis anacamptis found in South Hants, Gloucestershire and County Durham which has labellum plates (that with the three lobes) like those of Anacamptis species with the scent of Gymnadenia species.

Intergenera hybrids should not really occur if the taxonomy is correct, intergenera hybrids usually indicate that the taxonomy is wrong, but in the case of Orchids, this taxonomy will never be sorted out, there are other unseen players on the field: their fungal partners.

Some similarities to : Flower ()

Slight resemblance to : Flower ()

Superficial resemblance to : Flower ()

Lookee-Likees : Flower ()

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Flower () [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].


  Gymnadenia conopsea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
 family8Orchid family8Orchidaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Gymnadenia
Gymnadenia
(Fragrant Orchids)

CHALK FRAGRANT-ORCHID

COMMON FRAGRANT-ORCHID

Formerly known as Fragrant Orchid ssp. conopsea

Gymnadenia conopsea

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]