Wednesday, 28 December 2016

'BICOLOR' Named variety of E. Atrorubens

Variant of E. atrorubens: 'Bicolor'

Red or purple or red/brown/purple sepals and in part yellow petals
can also sometimes have light forms of epichile and bosses
(previously known locally as 'Lemon-petalled' or 'Lem-pets' for short)

(Bryan Yorke -27th June 2019)

I first became aware of a obvious (undefined) form of varietal Epipactis atrorubens present on Hutton Roof in Cumbria, somewhere around 2011 although I am sure they would have been around from much earlier than this. Yet in the following years they had started to make a impact on my orchid studies at Hutton Roof. 

 For ease of recording them, and to easily qualify recognition at that time (2011 or a little later), I started to call them “Lemon-Petalled” or Lem-pet for short, this was only ever meant to be a working name which it has served it's purpose. As years have progressed I have found more and more of them, and it's now difficult to find true specimens of what we would call normal by the regular colour definition of regular atrorubens, and which don't have at least some of the bicolor mix in their make up.

In 2019, It was suggested to me by a eminent orchid lover that a suitable long term name for these unusual make-up plants maybe represented by the name 'bicolor'. I could not have agreed more and also immediately liked the suggestive name, and so have now decided that it would be far more practical to give these varietal forms that more true defined name of 'bicolor' (rather than Lem-pet). On discussions so far, this name 'bicolor' seems very appropriate to represent the situation we have at Hutton Roof and it is hoped that maybe in the not to distant future that a full nomenclature document will be published in support of this new varietal name of 'bicolor'.  See below for a true photograph definition of a 'bicolor' plant, our Specimen 66 which is a 'bicolor' form on yet another peculiarity showing on a green stem, together with a further definition of a 'bicolor' plant Specimen 40 which is shown on a purple stem . 

Specimen 66 (Bicolor) - Shown here on a " Light Green" stem
whilst the epichile and boss have a base cream colour
which together is a even more rare combination to the
already complex scenario

(Spec 66) of the beautiful E. Atrorubens var: 'Bicolor' on a green stem (Click over to enlarge)

(Spec 66) of the beautiful E. Atrorubens var: 'Bicolor' on a green stem (Click over to enlarge)

Everybody who has seen these 'bicolor' plants seem to agree that they are stunning. From approximately 2011 onwards I started to notice the odd plant was starting to appear with these yellow petals which stood out so much against a red/purple coloured sepal. By 2014 there were even more of these bicolor plants beginning to appear and the populations have grown year on year.  In fact by 2016 we had more than ten of them.  This is not a phenomenom contained within one particular pavement on Hutton Roof but seen on several of it's pavements. In 2018 we probably have a score of them if not more.

Specimen 40 (Bicolor) - On a " Purple" stem
which you would normally associate with atrorubens,
whilst the epichile and boss are of a much lighter
form than normal

Specimen 40 which is a 'bicolor' but this time on a purple stem 


Below are listed our principal E. atrorubens var 'bicolor' specimens and their known histories:

Named: from the 17 population-(Bicolor)
almost next to Schmal specimen 17k 

Epipactis atrorubens var: bicolor (Dark Red Helleborine) Click over to enlarge
Photo: 8th July 2019 - Hutton Roof
Specimen from the 17s populations

Named: Specimen 33 -(Bicolor) 

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 similar nice specimens which some look like they could be related directly to 33 by their colour and make-up and subsequently I have already used presumption and thereby numbered them as Specimen 33a,b and c etc. It is clear that the specimen does have the obvious 'bicolor' qualification as you can already note within the photos and also of additional interest is that the Epichile and bosses on this specimen are very light has you can see in some cases it has been recorded down to white. Also the epichile shows a light rose red and apple green staining.

(20th August 2017)  Leaf edge profiling on specimen 33 (denticulation)  was checked both in the field at 20x by hand lens and then rechecked at 40x with microscope and indicates a leaf edge profile result of 20% Atrorubens and 80%  possible Helleborine/Hybrid irruption profile. 

(July 2019) Caged and fully matured 

Named: Specimen 40,40a (Bicolor) On a "Purple" stem 

One (Spec 40) of the beautiful bicolor on a purple stem variant 
(Click over image to enlarge)

Update 2017 (below - (Specimens 40s)

This shows the most beautiful 40s on 5th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

but sadly the following photo is how they were when checked out on the following day
6th July 2017

Here we have Specimen 40s on the 6th July just after they had been taken down yet again with
Brown Hare suspect. (Click over to enlarge)

(Update: 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 showing 90% Atrorubens and 10% of very irruptive profile indicating possible Helleborine/Hybrid influence.  

This is a photo from 2018 when we had a heatwave situation and this presented a
major problem for 40 which presented a premature dieback situation as shown

Histories for Specimen 40 (below):

2014 Update

First found as a single specimen.

2015 Update

Bicolor and stunning 19 1/2" height, purple washed stem, small tucked basal at 1" approx, then second basal at 2 1/2" up the stem. Good spike with 33 flowers.

2016 Update

Shows 3 years stems, and this year came through in tandem, got to full growth then all spike section predated.

2017 Update

Both tandem duo doing fine on 5th July 2017, yet predated the day after 6th July 2017, must cage for 2018. 

2018 Update

Sadly, although these pair of beauties were doing fine at first, they where soon struck down with severe dehydration because of the heatwave experienced.  Like so many other plants they suffered die-back which in the photo above shows them having not changed growth status in over 2 weeks. The specimens had been caged for their protection.

2019 Update 

The plants did eventually come through but much stunted in growth and so far just showing the base leaves with no signs of floret so not sure if they will make it this year. Again damage caused through last years draught situation (28th June 2019). No further progress at 18th July 2019 now considered aborted

Named Specimen 55 (bicolor)

Epipactis atrorubens var bicolor Click over to enlarge
Photo: Hutton Roof 11th July 2015

Histories for Specimen 55 (below):

2015 Update: Found this year on 27th July 2015 at 14" height

2016 Update: Came through again in full flower by 1st July and now at 18" height with 21 flowers. The specimen is always one of the first to flower.

2017 Update: Came through OK and reached its full potential at 20" height with 40 flowers, then soon after I found it had been trampled or alternatively something had got to the root-stock and the plant had keeled over.

2018 Update: The plant came through at stunted growth and never got chance to straighten up before 'die-back' set in because of draught weather situation.

2019 Update: Sadly the specimen has not come through this year, thought that the problem is a result of the last years heatwave. 

Specimen 55j (Bicolor)

(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 

Specimen 55K (Bicolor)

(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. - The pair that are at the base of a small hazel bush

(2019 update) Both came through OK and matured but I thought the bicolor was fading and that there red colouring was taking over..

Specimen 55L - bicolor (2019)

The beautiful small 55L which was only found in 2019 is tucked away and almost direct in West alignment to Specimen 55. It is a bicolor variant together with light epichile and boss features as can be seen from the following photograph.

Epipactis atrorubens var: bicolor Specimen 55L (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: 17th July 2019 - Hutton Roof
This photo shows the light coloured epichile and boss features

Epipactis atrorubens var: bicolor Specimen 55L (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: 17th July 2019 - Hutton Roof
This photo shows the full plant

Epipactis atrorubens var: bicolor Specimen 55L (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: 17th July 2019 - Hutton Roof
This photo shows the plant in relation to a near hazel which also
has a couple of 'bicolor' at its base etc

Specimen 66 (Bicolor) - Shown here on a " Light Green" stem
whilst the epichile and boss have a base cream colour
which together is a even more rare combination to the
already complex scenario

(Spec 66) of the beautiful E. Atrorubens var: 'Bicolor' on a green stem (Click over to enlarge)

(Spec 66) of the beautiful E. Atrorubens var: 'Bicolor' on a green stem (Click over to enlarge)

Specimen 74 (Bicolor)

Specimen 74 Epipactis atrorubens 'bicolor' (click over to enlarge)
Photo showing late shoots this year
Photo taken 15th June 2019 Hutton Roof

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 some of the 'Bicolor' plants that 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".

(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 ovaries 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 introgression. The denticulation pattern takes on "hybrid" with a clear atroruben/helleborine mix pattern. This was observed yesterday whilst in the field (under 20x), but today I intend to put the sample 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" eruptive profile. The denticulation profiles are transparent throughout with no trace that can be recognized of any "red flush". 

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 (Bicolor) taken July 2017
Specimen 74 (Bicolor) 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.

2018 Update -
 Specimen 74  Sadly the plant suffered premature dieback on account of dehydration because of the heatwave. It rearch to the point where the inflorescence was bent over before dying back. 

2019 - July Update
Specimen 74 The plant was slow this year and probably on account of last years heatwave of which again this plant suffered with premature dieback.  This year it has come through with a partner and they are very stunted to about 50% of the norm, and thats the way they remained, but did mature to flowering


Escarp 13 (Bicolor)

Escarp No.13 - A strong bold specimen of Bicolor (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: 2017

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

 Epipactis schmalhauseneii (hybrid) - 'bicolor' Spec Escarp 13
Photo: 17th July 2019 - Hutton Roof

 Epipactis schmalhauseneii (hybrid) 'bicolor' Spec Esc 13

Photo: 17th July 2019 - Hutton Roof

Been waiting for this one which is Specimen Escarp 13 and it is a specimen with much vigour. It is a schmalhauseneii hybrid and also is with a 'bicolor' make up. I have watched this plant for several years, sadly last year (2018) he suffered premature dieback on account of the heatwave weather, and this year came through late and stunted, but thankfully he has made up for lost time with plenty of vigour and now stands at near the metre mark.

 Epipactis schmalhauseneii (hybrid) 'bicolor' Spec Escarp 13
Photo: 17th July 2019 - Hutton Roof

(Updated 2017) There are three 'Bicolor' 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).  

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.


E. atrorubens var: bicolors recorded in other areas 

I have been told that 'bicolors' 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) at Helsington Barrows, and also now confirmed at Warton Crag.

I am reliably informed that they are as yet NOT recorded over in Bishop Middleham in Co. Durham, though maybe this has something to do with Magnesium limestone versus carboniferous limestone. 

Most interesting they are also not 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 in 2017. 

bicolor 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 bicolor (below) on Gait Barrows this year (June 2017) and has kindly shared a photo for us below (thanks Alan).

(Above) A photo of a lovely specimen kindly sent to me today from Rich Mielcarek which shows the 'bicolor' situation is also found at Coombs Dale, Near Calver in 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.


Back in 2014 I first found a 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.

Again back in 2014 I found a lovely specimen which I called Specimen 55 and 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 (Bicolor) 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 “Bicolor” 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 twenty 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 Bicolored on other limestone pavements on Hutton Roof. 

'Bicolor' in E. Helleborine 

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 noticed before although I have checked out these plants annually. In all three cases their colouring is similar and again in all three the plants for Helleborine are very small in stature eg: around the 10" to 12".  Here are photos of the three plants.

E.Helleborine var Bicolor No.1 (below)
 (About 20 yards to the South of the 33 population)

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

Epipactis helleborine - var: Bicolor No.2 (below) (About midway along Escarpment and quite close to Escarp 8 (Pallens)

Lemon Petalled on E. Helleborine (Lempetell No.2) 1st week in August 2017
Epipactis helleborine var: Bicolor No.3 (below)

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