Orchid (Traunsteinera)

By | October 31, 2017

Orchid (Traunsteinera)

Tubers 2, spherical. Leaves on the shoot, narrow. Capitate inflorescence, multiflorous. The flowers are very small, turned by 180 °, pink or yellow. Window leafs with club-shaped tops. The lateral inner petals meet above the column, the others are more or less open. 3-patch lip, with a spur at the root. Stamen straight, with a narrow coupler. Rostellum with a big, a single bag. Hooks 2. Oval birthmark, covered by a bag, clearly visible after its removal.

The column of the orchid genus (Traunsteinera) before (a, b) and after (c, d) pollination removal viewed from the front (a, c) and to the side (b, d).

I only belong to the genus of orchids 2 species: spherical orchid (Traunsteinera globosa), the range of which covers the mountains and highlands of southern and central Europe, and T.. sphaerica Bad., growing only in the Caucasus. The latter differs from our orchid with yellow flowers and a threadlike growth on the lip.

Little, the pink colored orchid flowers are devoid of nectar. To lure insects needed for pollination, the inflorescence of the orchid became "similar" in shape and color to other inflorescences, honey-bearing species of plants found with it. One of them is the pigeon sniping (Scabiosa columbaria). Seems, that the club-shaped tips of the leaves of the orchid perianth are an imitation of the generative parts of the orchid, protruding beyond the crown tube, i.e.. stamens. Scabiosa is pollinated by bees, trzmiele i Syrphidae. As the observations showed, the bees fly to the flowers of the orchids, but they don't sit on them – from a distance of approx 5-10 mm recognize "fraud” and they fly away. It happens so, perhaps, thanks to the intense fragrance of the flowers of this orchid. However, other insects are lured and sit on the flowers, by making pollinations. Seems, that the orchid "deceives" also the insects pollinating forest scabies (Knautia silratica) and valerian (Valeriana montana). Both of these plant species are similar, capitate inflorescence and a similar color of flowers. Interestingly, we are dealing here with the geographical substitution of reference species - the valerian is more frequent than the driakwi in the mountains, in the lowlands the opposite is true. Such "cheating" insects by an orchid is possible, because everywhere the model species are more common than it and not all insects are able to learn to avoid the orchid.

Flower comparison (a, d, g – side view. b, e, h – view from above) and shapes (c,f ,) spherical orchid (Traunsteinera globosa a-c), pigeon mockery (Scabiosa columbaria – d-f) and valerian (Valeriana montana – g-i).

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