Colony of Orchis quadripunctata f. albiflora

Orchis quadripunctata – photo: Robert Crnković

Orchis quadripunctata is a more than common species in mid Dalmatia. For more than ten years, Robert Crnković is looking for white, albiflora examples among numerous local populations  in the region of Trogir. In the beginning of May, he writes, I literately “stepped on” a small group of about 50 normal, pinkish plants, and, within the group, 14 snowy white ones. Such a great colony of albiflora forms can’t be explained by spontaneous mutations of individual plants. It seems that the white-flowered forms have propagated themselves in a quite unusual way.

Orchis quadripunctata – photo: Robert Crnković

In some cases of white-flowered Orchis albiflora the two or four small points on the base of the labellum – to which the name of the plant refers – retain the standard purplish color. Here the flowers are quite white.

Orchis quadripunctata f. albiflora – photo: Robert Crnković

Robert noted that all of these 14 plants have unspotted leaves – while the plants with purplish flowers have spotted leaves. This observation is conforming to the leaves of albiflora forms of other species like Dactylorhiza fuchsii which also lack the spots. The lack of Anthocyanine pigments affects not only the flowers but also the leaves.

Orchis quadripunctata f. albiflora – photo: Robert Crnković
Orchis quadripunctata f. albiflora – photo: Robert Crnković

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