Herminium monorchis (Musk orchid / Honingorchis) is one of the smallest orchids in Europe. This diminutive orchid is easily overlooked but when found is not hard to identify. The total plant measures on average between 5 and 10 cm and there are 20-30 individual tiny greenish-yellow flowers in a densely packed spike. Individial flowers measure about 2.5mm wide x 3 mm from front to back. Unless examined closely, the lip is hardly different in appearance to the petals and sepals, and the flower therefore appears to be made up of six almost identical narrow 'petals' taht form a tiny bell. Despite the English name this orchid does not smell musk but have a sweet, honey-like scent (like the Dutch name: Honing = honey). The flowers are pollinated by very small insects, typically just 1 - 1.5mm long. The pollinia are attached to the insects' legs ... I watched a tiny parasitic wasp pollinating several flowers and managed to get some good images (really macro work !!!). Once I have a determination on the species I will show a picture of these. It is not the most attractive european orchid in terms of color or structure, but the pollination and reproduction biology is just stunning. I'll tell more about that when showing the pollinator at work.
Image: Dollendorf (DE) - 02/07/2010
Taken with 150mm macro + 1.4 convertor at minimum working distance. Image not cropped so this is a magnification of 1.4/1
© Johan Dierckx
The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.
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.)
Please feel free to visit my personal website http://www.diversitasnaturae.be/