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Lizard Orchid | by DarrenU
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Lizard Orchid

Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum). Nr. Newmarket, Cambridgeshire.

 

I haven't been to see these spectacular plants for a few years (and missed my chance again this year). This is an old photo, but it has prompted me to try and remember to go and photograph them again next year. This specimen is from a well-known Cambridgeshire population; the largest British colonies are, however, in east Kent.

 

The common English name is pretty self-explanatory, referring to the lizard-like shape of the labellum. The second part of the scientific name refers to the smell of the flowers, which are meant to have a scent not dissimilar to that of goats - and which is what attracts the plant's insect pollinators.

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Taken on June 21, 2003