Whilst restoring the herbarium collection at Kendal museum I have had the pleasure of viewing some Pyramidal orchid specimens (Anacamptis pyramidalis).
This orchid is easily recognised by its pyramid-shaped spikes of flowers. The colour of the flower varies from pale to deep pink, purplish pink and occasionally white. The Pyramid orchid is pollinated by day and night flying butterflies and moths. The flowers are specially adapted to their specific pollinators, so they are very successful with 95% of the flowers producing viable seeds. The flowers have modified stamens which stick to the tongue of the insect. When the insect flies to the next flower the pollen is pushed directly onto the stigma of the next flower.
The Pyramidal orchid grows on chalk and limestone grass land it is common in most of Britain but rare in Scotland. This specimen from the Joseph Anthony Martindale herbarium dates from 1888 and was collected locally from Banks of the Leith, between Cliburn & Melkinthorpe, Westmorland.
The looking through a lens project will digitise the herbarium makingt it more accessible so more people can see these beautiful specimens.
Field guide to the wild flowers of Britain (1997) Reader’s Digest, Editor Davison M.W.
Eye witness guide Wildflowers of Britain and Northwest Europe (1994) Dorling Kindersley, Editor Rose F.