FRAGRANT ORCHID

CHALK FRAGRANT ORCHID, COMMON FRAGRANT ORCHID

Gymnadenia conopsea

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]  

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8pink
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2
 
type
typeZspiked
 
type
typeZspurred
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8perfume smell8perfumed smell8fragrant
scent

June 2011, Aston Clinton, Aylesbury, Bucks. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
A gathering.


9th July, Hawes Water, Silverdale Photo: © RWD


9th July, Hawes Water, Silverdale Photo: © RWD


9th July, Hawes Water, Silverdale Photo: © RWD


9th July, Hawes Water, Silverdale Photo: © RWD


9th July, Hawes Water, Silverdale Photo: © RWD


9th July, Hawes Water, Silverdale Photo: © RWD


9th July, Hawes Water, Silverdale Photo: © RWD


MARSH FRAGRANT ORCHID

Gymnadenia conopsea ssp. densiflora
19th Aug 2010, Gleninsheen, The Burren, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Marsh Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea ssp. densiflora)
The scent is sweet and similar to that of Carnations. To the author, Carnations smell of custard, which is vanilla. So it is possible (but by no means proven) that vanillaldehyde contributes to the aroma of this flower.


19th Aug 2010, Gleninsheen, The Burren, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Marsh Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea ssp. densiflora)
As its name suggests, the sub-species densiflora has flowers that are more densely packed around the stem. Flower colour varies from dark pink to pale mauve. In places where it grows together with sub-species conpsia then sub-species densiflora flowers about two weeks later.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics: for an orchid, the flower spike of fragrant orchid is exceptionally long.

Distinguishing Feature : A group of these orchids exhibit a flagrant (or fragrant) disregard for permeating the air with a delightful aroma, providing that the olfactory recipient does not suffer from anosmia.

There are three sub-species of Fragrant Orchid; shown above is just one of them: Chalk or Common Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia Conopsea). The other two are Marsh Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea ssp. densiflora) and Heath Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea ssp. borealis). There has been some confusion about the existence and names of the sub-species mentioned above, not least because they are so very nearly indistinguishable and are often confused with each other, or lumped together as one. But genetic analysis has shown the above three sub-species to be correct. Hybrids between them might occur, but the three seldom grow together in the same place, so, in practice, hybrids do not generally occur.

The above photographs correspond with that of Chalk or Common Fragrant Orchid. The main differences between the three are habitat, and smell, but minor variations in shape and physical dimensions of the flowers also occur.

Chalk or Common Fragrant Orchid grows in chalk and limestone grassland, flowers early June to mid-July, and smells sickly sweet as if acidic or rancid, whereas Heath Fragrant Orchid grows in mildly acidic to base-rich heathland flushes (and very rarely in chalk grassland), smells sweetly a little like cloves and without rancid overtones and flowers a little later June to August. Marsh Fragrant Orchid, on the other hand, prefers fens, smells similar to the Heath sub-species but flowers in-between the two from early July to August.

There is also a white variety, Gymnadenia Conopsea var. albiflora, which occurs fairly frequently.

The distributions of the three are un-certain, since previously (and probably currently) there is confusion in identification.

Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) hybridises with:

The hybrids abound. It is seen that it hybridises with other orchids which are not in the same genera as itself. [Could this be an indication that the taxonomic classification of the genera of orchids is due for a shake-up, the Author wonders?]


  Gymnadenia conopsea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
family8Orchid family8Orchidacaea

 BSBI maps
genus8Gymnadenia
Gymnadenia
(Fragrant Orchids)

FRAGRANT ORCHID

CHALK FRAGRANT ORCHID, COMMON FRAGRANT ORCHID

Gymnadenia conopsea

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]  

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