Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Purpurea or Dark Phase Variant (Helleborine)

This for me has been the darkest "purpurea" specimen (Specimen 1 Purpurea) I have had so far  (Click over to enlarge)
I took this photo on July 29th 2014 and the specimen lies within canopy some 10ft from the woodland edge,
 another plant close by also shows similar colours.

Its probably gone on for years, yet it was about four years ago that I started to notice that certain small populations of E.helleborines were far more purple coloured than the norm, some so dense in colour just like the one above, although most were a lesser but more regular purple like the ones in the photos below. Also with purpurea I have noticed that the "very large" helleborine leaves also show a distinct darker tone against the norm which again probably indicates some sort of interference.

Another thing I did notice about these heavily purple coloured plants was that they all were recorded lying within canopy with plenty of shade and were generally on the fringes of copse or woodland, with occasional plants situated well into the canopy by some ten to fifteen foot. There are two or three places in particular on the Hutton Roof Crags that can produce small populations of this "Purpurea" variety. One area in particular may have as many as 5 or 6 in a small area of say 10ft square. (see sketch below)

Photo of Purpurea No.1 - 4th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
also see the flowers close up in the next photo

Purpurea No.1 - 4th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Purpurea No.1 on 8th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

Purpurea No.1 13th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

Purpurea No.1 on 13th August 2017

Specimen No.3 Purpurea - I took this photo on 10th August 2016 (Click over photo to enlarge)

Purpurea No.3 - Photo taken 4th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Purpurea No.3 - Photo taken 4th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

I guess all this is to do with photo-synthesis, and the area not getting enough direct sunlight must have something to do with it all.  I do know this that it produces some fine looking specimens just like this one above which I took only last year (2016).  This plant was not too far away from Specimen One (purpurea) which I showed earlier.

This is mid to dark and was taken in 2014 (Click over to enlarge)

This is probably the "lightest" that I would qualify "Purpurea" from a specimen in 2012
(Click over to enlarge)

This is a very nice plant (Specimen 15 purpurea) within a small population
which is shown in the (See sketch below) - photo taken Aug 28th 2012
  (Click over to enlarge)

There is much variation in the amount of purple from plant to plant.  They can look stunning especially with a contrast to green ovary bracts and stems just like the above sample.

The sketch further down shows the area were I first discovered sample No.15 (Purpurea) see below - which was a stunning plant in 2012

Spec No 15 purpurea - photo taken in 2012 (Click over to enlarge)

Its quite obvious from my photos that 2012 was a great year for the "purpurea", but this is not how it goes from year to year.  If you check out the following photo (below) you will see the same plant (Spec No. 15 purpurea) the following year (2013) which has come through a little stunted in height to previous years, but more noticeable was that the buds of the flower actually died off and "aborted" long before coming through has a flower.  All you actually saw was a sort of brown burnt out bud (you can see this in the photo) and you were eventually left with a bare plant with no flowers.

You will see from the sketch below that we did have five plants which came through showing this abortive state, whilst others in the same collective came through as normal.  Yet all the same flowers showed exceptionally well in the previous year (2012)

This is a sketch I did in 2013 showing the population but lots of aborted flowers (Click over to enlarge)

In 2016 I had another plant of this species which also produced something similiar (see below).  It was far away from the above population and also a isolated case.  Again on the edge of a copse, I found this small stunted plant again with evidence of burnt out abortive buds. Also this specimen showed to be stunted in its growth especially towards the plume area with bracts squashing down on one another.   The photos below show you how the plants came through.