|Man Orchid in Fruit|
|Ufton Meadows - Man Orchid Cages|
|A frail plant that simply withered|
I went back this morning to see the fate of these plants. Without the cages they would have been impossible to find in the developed sward. Lady's bedstraw and St John's-wort were everywhere.
The two plants that were in bud did not develop and had died off, as had the frail plant. This left 4 spikes which had developed fruits with a total of 34 seed pods. Including the frail plant there were originally 123 flowers, so the fruiting success was 28%. The fruiting success of individual plants varied from 0 (the frail plant) to 42%.
Last week we carried out a similar exercise at Bernwood Meadows, but not very successfully. In early May we counted the flowers on 174 flowering spikes of Green-winged Orchids (Anacamptis morio) which averaged 6.8 flowers per spike in a survey area we created. We went back to count fruits, at lunchtime on one of the hottest days of the year last week. This is not an excuse for the fact that we could only find 31 of the original 174 flowering plants. Those had an averages of 3 seed pods and 7.9 flowers. The apparent fruiting success was therefore 38%. But what of the plants that we could not find, which appear to be those with fewer flowers? The total number of flowers we counted was 1193 and the total seed pods we found was 93; on this measure the fruiting success was only 8%. The survey at Ufton Fields shows that unless individual plants can be identified in flower then again in fruit, assessment of the fruiting success is extremely difficult.
|Fruiting Green-winged Orchid|