West Highland Flora

Greater Butterfly Orchid


Platanthera chlorantha

 

Platanthera chlorantha

Photo Carl Farmer
25 Jun 2004 Portree, Skye
Lowest flower c 2.8 cm across

Occasional in hay meadows, roadsides and grassy ground.

Plant c 25-50 cm tall.  Flowers c 1.5-3 cm across.

ID: Only likely to be confused with Lesser Butterfly Orchid, which sometimes grows near it.  Greater has the pollinia (two narrow yellowish-green strips side by side just beneath the hood) 3-4 mm long, c 1-2 mm apart at their tips but c 4 mm apart at base.  Lesser has them parallel and much closer together.

Other features: Lowest petal undivided, strap-like, yellowish-green, generally over 10 mm long.  Side petals yellowish-white, spreading.  Strongly-scented at night and pollinated by noctuid moths.

 

Platanthera chlorantha

Photo Carl Farmer
25 Jun 2004 Portree, Skye
Flower c 2.8 cm across

  Platanthera chlorantha

Photo Carl Farmer
24 Jun 2003 Glenbrittle, Skye
Flower c 11 mm across as seen

These pictures show the diagnostic pollinia, which are the greenish objects with their thick ends under the hood, diverging downwards to become very wide apart at their lower ends.

 

Platanthera chlorantha

Photo Carl Farmer
24 Jun 2003 Glenbrittle, Skye
Open flower c 11 mm across

  Platanthera chlorantha

Photo Carl Farmer
24 Jun 2003 Glenbrittle, Skye
Spur of lowest fl c 20 mm


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