Orchids in the grass.

I spent the day in a meadow which flowers above a roaring Swiss motorway and the grass was studded with orchids. Only rich countries can divert a motorway under such a wonderful habitat; but the wealth that paid for the diversion has been created by the very trade and the traffic beneath it and so one is struck once again by the seesaw of destruction and construction that is modern life.

So I ignored the sound of the traffic and revelled in the orchids above. The wonderful military orchids were just over and their seed spears showed where they had flowered just weeks before. However, the grass was now jewelled with the lipstick pink spikes of pyramid orchids, so bright they fluoresced in the sunshine. The first painted lady butterflies flew amongst them but refused to settle for a photograph.

We knew there were other orchids here, but missed them in the riot of colour of the red bartsia and the blue spiked speedwell. Just when we weren’t looking, or our eyes were turned to the side, we saw the little bee orchids.

Their flowers imitate the female bees to which the male bees are irresistibly drawn. Instead of bee copulation, the bee gets an undignified deelybopper of orchid pollen stuck on his head, which he then unwittingly carries to the next bee impersonating orchid and pollination takes place.

These orchids are small but beautiful and remarkably formed: a bit like Switzerland really!

10 thoughts on “Orchids in the grass.

  1. catterel says:

    Beautiful photos. We are so blessed to still have our “Magerwiesen” intact, with the wealth of wild flora and fauna that brings. I’ve often seen the pyramid orchids, but the bee orchid is new to me – must have overlooked them. An incentive for a trip up a mountain again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. afrenchgarden says:

    It is lovely to find orchids in the grass. The orchids are out here too. I do not have any orchids in the garden this year. I had bee orchids but I think my border plants smothered them out of existence. A friend has some orchids in his lawn that he keeps marked all year round so that he does not mow them down but I have not had any in our grass. Amelia

    Liked by 1 person

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