Two weeks ago I had a beautiful trip to the Alpes. ( that’s only a two hour drive from my place!) I was hunting orchids with my cam. Most of them did not jet bloom but I did get some rare early bloomers you don’t see when it is usually orchid time, which should be the next two weeks or so. I had the great luck that good weather and Saturday coincided. The place we went to is known for the orchids and quite a tourist spot because of this, but the good thing is there are fenced off paths, and security guys who make sure that no one digs them up, so no bad conscience for disturbing nature involved. The info stall was also helpful. So I was glad about this place (google Vorderhornbach, Austria), although usually I prefer to be alone with nature.
The first one is a fly orchid (Ophrys insectifera) German Fliegenragwurz.
This one got its name because it is polliated by masquerading, in form and smell, as a fly and has flys come and try to mate with it! the smell doesn’t really smell for human noses.
The next one is (I think) Cephalanthera longifolia, the sword-leaved Heleborine, German langblättriges Waldvögelein. It can easiely be confused with other white-flowered Cephalanthera species. It is said to be rare, but can be found in many places round here.
Close up of the flower:
The last one is Cypripedium calceolus , the ladies’slipper orchid, German Frauenschuh. It is by far the European orchid with the biggest flowers, and one of the most spectacular European wildflowers. It is rare, both because of thieves transferring it to their own gardens (which rarely works) and because it needs a special kind of bee (sand bees) to polinate it, which is also rare. I’ve never really seen those before, so I went wild with my cam.