Orchis purpurea f. albiflora in Eastern Hesse

Orchis purpurea

Four decades after founding the Arbeitskreises Heimische Orchideen (AHO) Hessen (working group of native orchids Hesse) (on 3.3.1979), a conference in Sontra looks back and to the future. The meeting begins with a field trip to a heathland with juniper called “Buehlchen”, near Grossalmerode-Wei├čenbach (Werra Meissner district). Calcypedium is still in buds on May 18th, Neottia ovata has no inflorescence, but Orchis mascula ist beautifully flowering. Among them there are some plants with brighter flowers and an Orchis with a yellowish edge at its stigma.

Orchis mascula

In the afternoon, the AHO Hesse chairwoman Jutta Haas looks back: In the last 40 years we have done a lot. The first and still an important task is the field mapping of orchid places with the goal to protect and preserve them. The following lectures present the orchid flora in the North, the Middle and the South of Hesse – with interesting evidence of Albiflora forms, for example a group of five white-flowered Neotinea tridentata in North Hesse and the observation of Martin Hild: Dactylorhiza fuchsii is quite often flowering white in the mountain range of Taunus.

On the second day of the meeting there is a field mapping in the surroundings of Sontra. Near Moenchhosbach we record Platanthera chlorantha, Cephalanthera damasonium, Neottia ovata, Ophrys insectifera and Neotinea tridentata, which has an isolated occurence in Hesse and Thuringia – before I had only seen this species in the Mediterranean. It is interesting to observe the different color hues. Some plants are flowering quite bright, others haven intense crimson color.

In the afternoon we are visiting another heathland with Juniper near Berneburg, with Neotinea tridentata and efflorescent Orchis militaris. At a flower of Cardamine pratensis there was a couple of the orange-tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines).

Anthocharis cardamines

Finally we followed the hint of a conference participant and found the white-flowered Orchis purpurea, at the border of Hesse near Thuringia.

Orchis purpurea

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