This week's Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week was Pyramidal Orchid - Anacamptis Pyramidalis.
In 1986 an amazing, magical and beautiful flower was noticed growing on the sand dunes on Samson. Over 30 years later a good flowering season has up to a hundred plants growing along the paths and among the Marram grass and Bramble. And it is still only on Samson.
The flower spike of Pyramidal Orchid can be very like a pyramid or more dome shaped. The dense head is made up of flowers that are bright pink or rose-purple. The upper petal is hooded, two side petals spread out like angel wings and the lower lip has three lobes. There is a long curved hind spur. The leaves are long and narrow without spots. It has a slightly unpleasant musky foxy smell.
The botanical name, Anacamptis Pyramidalis, means a plant that is shaped like a pyramid with a part, in this instance the flower spur, that bends forwards or backwards.
Pyramidal Orchids provide nectar for day and night flying moths, and butterflies. Charles Darwin said that the Pyramidal Orchid was finally adapted for insect pollination. The stamens stick to the tongue of the insect. The insect flies off and visits the next flower.
You can listen to Liz's Wildflower Of The Week below and Liz will have a brand new wildflower for you next Wednesday at 10:30am.