Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Lemon Petalled Varieties of Atrorubens (both Purple stem or Green Stem) and also Lemon Petalled in E. Helleborine

“LEMPET” (9th July 2017) (taxons later)

I first became aware of Lempet (Lemon-Petalled) Epipactis Atrorubens plants somewhere around 2014 although I am sure they would have been around much earlier. In fact looking back on some of my older photographs the situation may well have taken hold on Hutton Roof from 2011 but for definite it must have been 2012 using these earlier photographs of evidence, although my serious concerns may well have not started until 3 years later.
For ease of recording and recognition, I started to call them “Lemon-Petalled” or Lempet for short (Taxon to be confirmed later).
Back in 2014 I first found a “Lutescens” variety of Atrorubens which was about 10” high and was fairly striking because of its red sepals and yellow petals and furthermore it had (and still as in 2017) white epichiles and white bosses.
The Lutescens specimen was only the second found on English soil I am led to believe, the first a specimen found further up yet still in Cumbria, the finder was Alan Gendle, and the only other one on record was a specimen found on the Burren in Ireland.
Since then I have been looking out for further “Lutescens”, but it’s all become far more complicated as time goes on and I will try and explain this.  I was finding further specimens which did look very much like “Lutescens” but did not have the white Epichile and boss.
Again back in 2014 I found a lovely specimen which I incorrectly at the time thought of it has a “Lutescens” although the specimen was at the onset 14” tall, but the following year (2015) when the plant came through again it was very strong in contrasting red sepals and yellow petals.  That same specimen today is one of our “special” looking plants and named “Specimen No.55 (Lempet) and today it is 20” high and has 40 flowers. It usually comes to flower from 27th June.
This particular plant seemed to be the beginning for me of the “Lempet” generation and I did then start to see them coming up regular and more widespread.  On the fell in question I have so far recorded about ten of which No.55 still remains the most striking contrasting plant and the others are at varying stages of depth of contrast.

Also of interest I have found Lempets on other limestone pavements on Hutton Roof.  Additionally I have also been informed by others that they are also present over in Middlebarrow Quarry and in other parts of the Lythe Valley.  So the “Lempet” situation is probably more widespread than we first thought. 


Specimen 66 (Lemon-Petalled) - On a " Light Green" stem

One (Spec 66) of the beautiful Lemon Petalled on a green stem  variant (Click over to enlarge)

Everybody who has seen these seem to agree that they are stunning plants.  It has become noticeable that most of our atrorubens which were always red petalled and red sepalled in different shades of purple, yet from approximately 2013 I noticed changes going on and a few plants were coming through with the lemon coloured petal which stood out so much against a purple coloured sepal. In 2014 there were even more of these lemon petalled plants beginning to appear and the populations have grown year by year.  In fact now (2016) we have more than ten of them.  This is not a phenomenom contained within one particular pavement it has spread to a couple of pavements to my knowledge.

Specimen 33 - Lem-pet (Atrorubens led - hybrid potential)


Specimen 33 on 28th June 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Specimen 33 on 24th June 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

This is a very strong specimen at the base of a small hazel bush.  All around it are more nice specimens which some could well be related to 33. It is clear that the specimen does have Lem-pet qualification and also of interest is that the Epichile and bosses are very light and almost to a white.

(20th August 2017)  Leaf edge profiling on specimen 33 (denticulation)  and checked both in the field at 20x and also rechecked at 40x with microscope and which now indicates a profile result of 20% Atrorubens and 80% Helleborine/Hybrid irruption profile.  This is a approximate and temporary indication result only and the specimen does at some stage in the future require a secure DNA profile assessment. All specimens are collected strictly under licence from specimens which are receding growth or been subject to early predation.


Specimen 40,40a (Lem-Pet) On a "Purple" stem


One (Spec 40) of the beautiful lemon petalled on a purple stem variant (Click over image to enlarge)
Specimen 40,40a (lempets - Atro led - hybrid potential)

(20th August 2017)  Leaf edge profiling on specimen 40,40a (duo) (denticulation) and checked both in the field at 20x and also rechecked at 40x with microscope and which now indicates a profile result of 90% Atrorubens and 10% of very irruptive profile indicating Helleborine/Hybrid influence. This is a approximate and temporary indication result only and the specimen does at some stage in the future require a secure DNA profile assessment. All specimens are collected strictly under licence from specimens which are receding growth or been subject to early predation.


Specimen 55j (Lem-pet)

(20th August 2017)  Leaf edge profiling on specimen 55j (denticulation)  and checked both in the field at 20x and also rechecked at 40x with microscope and which now indicates a profile result of 100% Atrorubens This is a approximate and temporary indication result only and the specimen does at some stage in the future require a secure DNA profile assessment. All specimens are collected strictly under licence from specimens which are receding growth or been subject to early predation.

Specimen 55K (Lem-pet)

(20th August 2017)  Leaf edge profiling on specimen 55k (denticulation)  and checked both in the field at 20x and also rechecked at 40x with microscope and which now indicates a profile result of 90% Atrorubens with 10% Helleborine/Hybrid irruptive profile. This is a approximate and temporary indication result only and the specimen does at some stage in the future require a secure DNA profile assessment. All specimens are collected strictly under licence from specimens which are receding growth or been subject to early predation.


Specimen 74 (Lem-pet)

Specimen 74 LP on Purple variant found 22nd July 2016 and was the last of the year
 (photo: Bryan Yorke) Click over photo to enlarge

Of note with these Lemon-Petalled (Lempets) plants in some of the cases (less than 20%) the Epichile and bosses are quite light coloured in appearance showing cream or even white, but in general, they are of all shades "pink".


Today (14th August 2017) I have decided to do some home study on Specimen 74 (lemon-petalled). I did go and check it out in the field only yesterday and the ovarys are very slow at swelling on this specimen, but what stood out a mile was the lower leaf structure which did have very dishy basal leaves which straightaway gives me the impression of "helleborine part" influence. The denticulation pattern takes on "hybrid" with a clear atroruben/helleborine mix pattern clear to see. This was observed yesterday whilst in the field (under 20x), but today I intend to put the sample (collected under licence) under 40x to try and get a better conclusion. After checking the specimen at 40x its quite clear that the results are just what I expected on yesterday's brief check out. The majority of the lines are well represented with the Atrorubens profile, yet there are intermediate areas showing both Helleborine and even more interesting with a clear "Hybrid" profile. The denticulation profiles are transparent throughout with no trace that can be recognized of any "red flush". (I have suspected for quite a while that at least the bolder lempets where not simply another variety but more than likely to be yet another mix within the hybridization quandry!



Specimen 74 Good indication of the "Helleborine" type leaves (Click over to enlarge)


Specimen 74 Helleborine leaves - captured on photo 13th August 2017
Specimen 74 (Lempet) taken July 2017
Specimen 74 (Lempet) Protected by cage since July 2017

Specimen 74 has every right to be a member of the "hybrid probables" when you stop to think about it because it is immediately surrounded by many E. Helleborines, Hybrids and also E. Atrorubens. The nearest E. Helleborines are within six foot (6 plants) and there are a further ten E. Helleborines within a radius of 20 yards of the plant. Also there are several scattered E. Atrorubens also within that same radius of 20 yards. But probably even more interesting Specimen 15,15a,15c,15d (some of the more profound hybrids) lie in a direct line of about 7 yards from the plant. The nearest other lempets are 40 and 40a which do lie within 25 yards of the plant and Escarp 13 another lempet which lies about 50 yards  Since July 2017 the plant has been protected with a cage and reached maturity without problem.

Escarp 13


Escarp No.13 - A strong bold specimen of Lempet (Click over to enlarge)
There are three Lemon-Petalled specimens along the length of "Escarp" and the above one which is for now named "Escarp 13" is without doubt the strongest/boldest specimen out of the three with a excellent thick atrorubens "purple" stem.  It came through well in 2017 as you can see in the above photograph but sadly towards the end fell victim to the Roe Deer and was subsequently liberated of its magnificent plume (or spike).  The leaves were also striking with their keeled broad at the base and out stretching features (rather than upright).  I did take a photo close up of the plants plume which I will put below.

Within a couple of metres of this plant are two strong suspected hybrids which for now have been called - Escarp 7 and Escarp 10 which have the "regular" two tone colourization in the flowers, yet bear many Helleborine features especially in their leaves, but these show no lemon-petalled in their make up.

I will try and obtain a leaf sample of Escarp 13 shortly to do a leaf edge examination on Escarp 13 to see if this will reveal any further clues! and will report back later on my findings.

Escarp 13 taken on 11th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

LEMON - PETALLED IN E. HELLEBORINE (Lempetell) taxons later

Since 2017 I have started to notice three of our E. Helleborine plants are showing signs of Lemon Petals which to me is very interesting and something I have not seen before although I have checked out these plants annually.  Here are photos of the three plants.

Lemon Petalled on E. Helleborine (Lempetell No.1) 1st week in August 2017

Lemon Petalled on E. Helleborine (Lempetell No.2) 1st week in August 2017
Lemon Petalled on E. Helleborine (Lempetell No.3) - 1st week in August 2017

Lempets recorded in other areas (taxon later)

I have been told that "Lemon Petalled" specimens have been found closeby in Middlebarrow Quarry, Silverdale and also in Gait Barrows in Silverdale, and they have been recorded further up in the Lythe Valley (Cumbria), and also now confirmed at Warton Crag.

I am reliably informed that they are as yet not recorded over in Bishop Middleham and neither are they recorded on Ingleborough (Yorkshire)

A very interesting record has been kindly shared by Steve Tandy when he managed to photograph the following specimen on the Great Orme this year.

Lemon-Petalled or as he called it "Rhubarb and Custard" found on the Great Orme
 by Steve Tandy
(thanks to Steve for sharing with us)
I have also been kindly informed by Alan Smith that he too has found the following Lempet on Gait Barrows this year (June 2017) and has kindly shared a photo for us below (thanks Alan).


Also of great interest is to see that the Lempet atrorubens is also present in the Derbyshire population and thanks to Rich Mielcarek who kindly sent me the following photograph which he took on 20th July 2006.  Interestingly the plant has a lovely light green stem.

A photo of a lovely specimen kindly sent to me today from Rich Mielcarek which shows the "Lempet" situation is also found in the "Derbyshire" population. This photo was taken on 20th July 2006

The above photo is showing a specimen found by Rich Mielcarek at Warton Crag on 10th July 2007.