Archive for the ‘Family: Orchid’ Category

I believe this orchid is an Adam och Eva orchid.  It may be an Early Purple Orchid that is not fully grown yet, but because the stem has a few leaves on it and it is shorter and stalkier, I think it’s an Adam and Eve orchid.

Adam and Eve Orchid (Adam och Eva), Öland, Sweden

Dactylorhiza latifolia, the Latin name, comes from latus (broad) and folium (leaf).  This flower has a few leaves on the stem and 3-4 broad leaves at the base.  It grows May-June on dry calcerous hills and meadows mainly in coastal areas of the Baltic Sea.  They usually come in pairs, one pink and one yellow.

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Last weekend I took the most magical trip to Öland, an island in the Baltic off the southeastern coast of Sweden.  I explored Southern Öland by bicycle, riding through fields of yellow crops, along the rocky Baltic shores and viking burial grounds and every moment was breath-taking.  Everywhere I looked I saw something new that made me stop to stare in awe.  The land so void of people made me feel like the island’s beauty was there for just me to soak in and keep forever.

Öland’s unique landscape has allowed a large number of plant and animal species to thrive.  The southern part of the island is a huge limestone plain called ‘Stora Alvaret’.  Freely draining calcerous soils and the exposed limestone bedrock retain heat and allow for a long growing season.  The meager amount of soil (about 2 inches) covering the limestone and the grazing livestock over hundreds of years have forced plants to adapt to survive.  On Öland there are 32 species of orchids.

The Early Purple Orchid, or in Swedish, Sankt Pers Nycklar, was scattered across Stora Alvaret when I visited at the end of May.  This purple orchid has leaves at the base and a strong stalk.  It is the most common of the orchis genus, although still rare.  Lineaus discovered the Early Purple Orchid on a trip to Öland and Gotland in 1741 and named it ‘orchis masculus’ because its two round roots look like testes.  The Swedish name is literally ‘Saint Peter’s Keys’, which is much more interesting than the boring English name!

Early Purple Orchids, Sankt Pers Nycklar (Öland, Sweden)

Seeing an orchid in the wild was thrilling.  In New England, we only have the lady slipper growing wild if you’re lucky enough to find one.  I know where they grow near my parents’ house back home and my mother brought me up with fear in my heart if I ever disturbed them because they might not come back.  To go to Öland where these beautiful flowers were surrounding me as I picnicked on Stora Alvaret was luxuriously magnificent.

Early Purple Orchid, Sankt Pers Nycklar (Öland, Sweden)

There will be many more Öland posts to come!

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