Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum)

Limodorum abortivum  (Orchidaceae family) is commonly known as Violet Limodore or Violet Bird's-nest Orchid (Λιμόδωρο το εκτρωτικό). It's name abortivum alludes to its pattern to produce flowers and even flower stems that die before they blossom. It is a myco-heterotroph and rarely a rarely a saprophyte.
Its existance is covered with a veil of mystery. . . below earth it forms a tangled web of thick roots which sends above a purplish stem with minute brown-purple leaves with few flowers. But what is even more peculiar is that it can wait underground for several years without flowering until the appropriate conditions appear. Finally although the flower can be pollinated it is frequently subjected to cleistogamy.
It is a rather ubiquitous plant in the Mediterranean although it can be difficult to spot because of its habits. I saw this one on Mt Olympus.

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