Wow, we were out and about today( Thursday 31st May) visiting Angles sur Anglin……. what a fantastic place, but even better, there I was taking photos of the ruins and the river and all the touristy stuff when I spotted some Broomrape plants, which are quite interesting but then as I went over to take a quick photo, there were five spikes of this amazing orchid. The Lizard Orchid, Himantoglossum hircinum, now theres a name to get your teeth into.
I have looked them up on the orchid site for france and they are not rare and evidently quite common in certain parts. However for me they are amazing. I have only ever seen them once before which was a special trip to a known site in England. This is sort of in the centre of Newmarket Race course!
As you can see each individual flower has a very long petal which somewhat resembles the tail of a reptile. The floral structure of all orchids is the same. They have 3 petals and 3 sepals. The one that sticks up is a sepal and then there are two small sepals that point downish, one to the right and one to the left. The Petals are sort of the reverse with one big petal sticking directly down and then two small petals sticking up and one to the right and one to the left.
The idea behind all flowers that are pretty,colured and smell is to attract pollinators, how this weird arrangement can be of any advantage to the plant over a standard flower shape I fail to see. It is certainly not there to attract lizards, it is simply called this because it looks a bit like a lizard. Unlike the Bee Orchid which is there to attract bees because it looks somewhat like a bee and the stupid male bees try to mate with it! and in the process pollination takes place. Have a look at another blog (very good) with a bee orchid in the latest post . It is http://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/bee-orchid/
Anyway I was delighted to see these, and it made my day at Angles sur Anglin all the better. I took quite a few other flower photos whilst there because on part of this blog I am building up an identification resource called https://poitoucharentesinphotos.wordpress.com/wildflowers-of-poitou-charentes/
So if you see a flower and do not know what it is you will be able to refer to my pages.