Variations in Green-winged Orchids

I spent a couple of hours at Winks Meadow, Suffolk this afternoon. Hoping to see Frog Orchid but sadly I was a little early and there are no signs of them yet. Instead I turned my attention to the Green-winged Orchids which literally carpet the whole meadow this year. Despite the lateness of the season there were plenty of good looking specimens about. The species is very variable in colouration so I set about trying to photograph some plants to illustrate the differences. Most pleasing were 4 plants of the variation 'alba' showing no pink or purple pigment in the flower at all.

The typical and most common form with violet-purple flowers and a paler central lip with purple spotting  

A close up of the most common form

A specimen showing no whitish area on the central lip

A specimen, not uncommon, showing a very pale lip with very faint spotting but retaining some purple in the sepals

Variation 'alba', scarce in this population and amost always less than 1% of any population. Completely lacking any pink or purple in the sepals or lip but always with those distinctive green veins on the sepals

Variation 'alba' again

The only other bits of interest around the meadow were a singing Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, my 1st Common Blues of the year plus lingering Orange Tips. I'm still working on identifying the bumblebees! 

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