Page 1

AN UNCOMMON HYBRID

DACTYLORHIZA

X

ORCHID,

TRANSIENS

E . MILNE-REDHEAD

In J u n e 1979 news r e a c h e d the Suffolk Trust for N a t u r e C o n s e r v a t i o n that a small m e a d o w containing an interesting flora had planning permission for building a h o u s e . I was asked to go and look at it to see what was there and w h e t h e r a n y plants could b e saved. T h e main interest was a d a m p area with a nice p o p u l a t i o n of m a r s h plants such as Caltha palustris, K i n g c u p , Lythrum salicaria, P u r p l e L o o s e s t r i f e , Mentha aquatica, W a t e r Mint, a n d sedges. I saw n o r a r e plants or any worth rescuing. At t h e south e n d , on higher, drier g r o u n d n e a r the h e d g e , t h e r e was a fine c l u m p of Listera ovata, C o m m o n T w a y b l a d e , a n d n e a r b y one plant of a Dactylorhiza orchid, with o n e inflorescence. It was not typical of D. fuchsii or D. maculata ( C o m m o n and H e a t h S p o t t e d O r c h i d s ) and I guessed it might be a hybrid, but no o t h e r s p o t t e d - o r c h i d s w e r e to be seen a r o u n d it. T o save these orchids f r o m the bulldozer, I dug t h e m up. T h e Listera I t r a n s p l a n t e d to a u g m e n t t h e population in G r o t o n W o o d . N o t knowing w h a t to d o with t h e ' h y b r i d ' , I gave it to t h e Royal B o t a n i c G a r d e n s , K e w . I forgot to ask a b o u t it w h e n I next visited Kew. Last s u m m e r M r . M . N. S a n f o r d , of the Suffolk Biological R e c o r d s C e n t r e , told m e he h a d visited Kew and seen a magnificent Dactylorhiza growing n e a r t h e n e w A l p i n e H o u s e . It was labelled ' D . fuchsii x ericetorum f o r m a , E n g l a n d , S u f f o l k ' . H e e n q u i r e d as to its origin and was told it was collected at Elmswell by E . M i l n e - R e d h e a d in 1979. This hybrid is k n o w n as D. X transiens ( D r u c e ) Soo. L a t e last year I m e t D r . Joyce Stewart, the Sainsbury O r c h i d Fellow at K e w . S h e told m e she had p h o t o s of this splendid hybrid, and very kindly sent m e t w o t r a n s p a r e n c i e s , o n e showing a mass of leafy flower-buds and t h e o t h e r t h e plant in flower. This latter p h o t o is r e p r o d u c e d h e r e with t h e permission of D r S t e w a r t . I think this splendid plant shows t h e combination of good cultivation and hybrid vigour! N e v e r have I seen a plant of a Dactylorhiza multiply to such an extent so as to p r o d u c e a b o u t 20 inflorescences. S u m m e r h a y e s (1951) States that hybrids b e t w e e n D. fuchsii and D. maculata (ericetorum) m a y often be seen where the two species occur in close p r o x i m i t y , and m a y o f t e n be recognised in t h e first place by their g r e a t e r vigour. S i m p s o n (1982) states that occasionally [in Suffolk] b o t h species can be f o u n d sharing t h e s a m e h a b i t a t , but he d o e s n o t describe t h e habitats or give their locations. H e d o e s not record D. x transiens f r o m W e s t Suffolk, but his E a s t Suffolk r e c o r d f r o m Whatfield ( d e s t r o y e d by ploughing in 1940) is the first and until 1979, the only record f r o m vice-county 26, W e s t Suffolk. His o t h e r Suffolk r e c o r d s are C r a n s f o r d (1972) and Sizewell (1967) b o t h in v.c. 25, E a s t S u f f o l k .

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 24


AN UNCOMMON HYBRID ORCHID

83

References Simpson, F. W . (1982). Simpson's Flora of Suffolk: 381-2. Ipswich, Suffolk, Naturalists' Society. S u m m e r h a y e s , V. S. (1951). Wild Orchids of Britain: 277. L o n d o n , Collins, N e w Naturalist. Edgar Milne-Redhead Parkers 43 B e a r Street Nayland Suffolk C 0 6 4HX

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 24


Plate 7: The Common Spotted x Heath Spotted hybrid orchid. Dactylorhiza x transient from Elmswell. photographed at Kew in July. 1987 (p 82). (Photo: Dr. Joyce Stewart)

An uncommon hybrid orchid, Dactylorhiza X transiens  

Milne-Redhead, E.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you