Monday, 7 June 2021

White Helleborines

They glowed white through the undergrowth; yes they were there again: White helleborines.  These are a member of the orchid family and are widespread across Europe, but in the UK normally only found in the south of England so nobody is sure why we have them in our cemetery.  They grow up to 60cm, are self pollinated and the  flowers do not open fully and so the blunt yellow lip is rarely visible.  The plants take at least eight years to develop from seed, and flowering can take an additional two to three years after that.  I had been keeping an eye open for them for several weeks now and had begun to think that there weren't going to be any this year, when a week or so ago I found a couple of poor specimens.  Out running in the cemetery yesterday, I decided to check to see whether these were worth photographing when I noticed two more much stronger plants.  On going to photograph them this morning I found fifteen altogether, but there may be more as they are growing amongst a thick covering of cow parsley under trees.

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