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Ophrys insectifera var. ochroleuca

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 27 May 2010 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

Series: European Terrestial Orchids

On May 18 is showed a picture of Ophrys insectifera ((Fly Orchid / Vliegenorchis). It is one of the most spectacular Orchid species to find in Belgium. Last saturday on a trip to Germany I went looking for a very, very rare variety of this species: Bright yellow and white coloured.

Due to a genetic mutation this variety lacks the anthocyanins (from Greek: ἀνθός (anthos) = flower + κυανός (kyanos) = blue), the water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue and give the flower the normal colourings which are adaptive for attracting pollinators. (You can see the normal colouring in the picture of 18 May). In huge populations of the normal coloured form, this mutution sometimes takes place and a few plants of this var. ochroleuca (sometimes called var. flavescens) can be found.

Although I knew that this var. occured in the area where I was looking (yes, I was tipped), I had to search more than 2 hours to find it ... The plants disappear nearly completely in the surrounding yellow and green coloured vegetation...

I've seen more than 100 different European Orchid species in the wild by now, but I must say... this one was the most wonderfull I ever saw.

Image: Germany 22/05/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/400 second F/5.6 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

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All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)

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Photome from Uden, Netherlands

Ton sur Ton. Schitterend dat groen en ook de vormen in deze bijzondere bloem.

27 May 2010 7:47am

@Photome: Het was inderdaad een ongelooflijke vondst (voor mij dan toch). Ik blijf me verbazen over de vormenrijkdom die in de natuur te vinden is. Bedankt alweer voor je bezoekje en je commentaar.

dang from Atlanta, United States

As usual, nice job.

27 May 2010 8:57am

@dang: Thanks :-)

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

Congratulations on your find! Another interesting species. Very nice composition.

27 May 2010 3:26pm

@Julie Brown: Thanks, Julie. I was realy happy finding this one. (I found 6 specimens in this colour) My Orchid-season is already a succes and there are still 2 month to go ... :-) This plant was only about 10 cm in total hight and hidden in relatively high surrounding grass. Making a decent picture was not easy. I'm glad you like the composition and this image turned out well.

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

Ik vind deze er heel apart en bijna sereen uitzien en de lange zoektocht meer dan waard. Mooi zoals de groene kleuren elkaar zo goed aanvullen. Had trouwens geen flauw idee dat er zo veel wilde orchideeën bestonden in Europa.

27 May 2010 4:14pm

@Monique: Er zijn in Europa ruwweg een 600 tal soorten wilde orchideeën te vinden. Ik heb dus nog wel wat werk (en kilometers) voor de boeg wil ik ze ooit allemaal zien :-). De "kleurloze" vormen zijn echter verschrikkelijk zeldzaam en het is altijd uniek als je er eentje kan vinden. Ik denk dat een schatting van 100 exemplaren in heel Europa voor deze specifieke vorm van deze soort ongeveer in de buurt moet komen .... (als het al niet overschat is). Zeker voor mij is deze foto dus van onschatbare waarde.

Joke from Leuven, Belgium

Groen, groen, groen maar oh zo verschillend! Prachtig.

27 May 2010 9:46pm

@Joke: Ik heb al wel vaker de commentaar gekregen op mijn foto's dat ik "groen met een kleurtje" fotografeer :-) Voor mij is dat een compliment :-) Dank je !

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

Hi there Johan! Oh i missed so much wonderful picture releases!
What a joy to come to your small virtual place and being welcomed with all these beauties! Really just what I need right now, back in the city.
The greens here are so calming and warm, you photographed her with such an elegance, a perfect composition. As for the light, I love how it comes from above like a spotlight!

27 May 2010 10:10pm

@daniela scharnowski: Hi, Daniella, nice to see you back again. Hope you had a good holiday !
I'm glad my images can give you some joy ... I'm honoured by that comment !
In the six years i'm studying on Orchids this was one of the most elegant specimens I ever encountered. I think it deserves an elegant appoach too ... It took me a great efford to get this picture right, but I'm satisfied with the result. The light: just the natural sun - our motor of life ! :-)

Dutch from Chicagoland, United States

This orchid needs to see the Wizard [ of Oz! ] to get some color! I like your frame up here, you show the flower, you show the buds, it has a nice long, slender appeal to it and if you study the flower it looks like an angel. Small head, little arms stretched upwards, two wings and a long flowing dress!

28 May 2010 1:21pm

@Dutch: I just hope I have given this elegant species an elegant portrait :-)

Dutch from Chicagoland, United States

Long, slender, sensual with both blossom and bud showing. Not sure you could have done better unlessss.. it was macro microscopic. And.. I think then you would lose the beauty of the plant in the abstraction of the macro.

28 May 2010 11:03pm

@Dutch: Of course I have some micro-macro images too (every detail had to be in the picture ;-) ) But these are more scientific (or documentary) images. Think this one is more the character of the plant itself. So you are so right about loosing the beaty in the abstraction. (I'll publish these in my orchid-book :-p )
"In the detail, the total picture can get lost"...

Canon EOS 400D
1/400 second
ISO 200
150 mm