I am joining in with Clay and Limestone‘s meme of Wild flower Wednesday this month. I discovered this amazing orchid last week growing on the roadside near Grimaud on the Cote d’Azur in France. My scream of ‘Stop the Car!’ nearly caused an accident. Fortunately we found somewhere to park the car safely and walk back to have a look. It obviously was an Orchid but I had no idea they came as big as this. To find such an enormous Orchid in bloom in February was quite surreal. It has large glossy green leaves and a flower spike of pinky- purple flowers which apparently can be as tall as a metre high although these weren’t quite as big as that.
The name of this orchid was Barlia robertiana until as recently as 1999. Jean-Baptiste Barla was a French botanist and Gaspard Nicolas Robert was also a botanist . This lovely orchid was named after both of them. Now it has been reclassified as Himantoglossum which are lizard orchids. However there is still disagreement about the classification so it could change again. Perhaps we could stick with Giant Orchid and then there is no confusion. The orchid is quite localised in several Mediterranean countries.
I found another bigger area of them a day or two later on the coast and was upset to see that some of them had been dug up. I am sure they are on the red list and so protected. Not only is digging up these beautiful plants illegal, selfish and irresponsible but it is most likely a death sentence for the plant. They are unlikely to thrive in the garden where the fungus they depend on is absent.
Thank you to Gail of Clay and Limestone for hosting this meme of Wildflower Wednesday on the fourth Wednesday of every month. Why don’t you join in?