Gymnadenia conopseaIn addition to hybrids and wrong coloured specimens the watchful observer sometimes can find plants, which are less or more disfigured. This is called wrong structure. In most cases the flowers, but sometimes also the whole habitus or vegetetive parts are deformed. While normally hybrids and wrong colours are of genetic nature, monstrosities also can be caused by mechanical damaging, for example by the bite of insects, the kick of animals or by frost. In such cases often only one flower shows the abnormity. But when all the flowers of a plant or several plants are showing the same damage and this damage can be observed every year, it is shurely a genetic defect. For examples please look at Ophrys incubacea and Gymnadenia conopsea.

If the flowers are damaged, the plant mostly is steril. Therefore such wrong structures are very rare. They dissapear when they are dying and they appear at another place. But there is an exception. Species, which reproduce by autogamie like Ophrys apifera do not need pollination. So in this cases such aberrations can be more frequent, so some authors call them a subspecies. Two good examples are Ophrys apifera ssp. botteronii and Ophrys apifera ssp. aurita.

Ophrys apifera aurita x Ophrys apifera botteroniiA lot of wrong structures can be found. Concerning the damage of flowers the whole blossom can be damaged (Ophrys bombyloflora) or, more often, the flowers have more than one labellum (Orchis palustris, Ophrys lutea). In other cases the labellum is missing completely or it looks like the two other petals. In this cases the flower is completely symmetric like a lily or the two outer sepals are pointed downwards, rarely seen by Ophrys holoserica. Very rare parts of the outer sepals have the signs and colours of the labellum. For example please see Ophrys garganica.


Ophrys sphegodesWhen the whole inflorescence is damaged, it could be curved (Listera ovata, Ophrys archipelagi) or the flowers are pointed upwards which means they are located to the wrong direction. In this case the plant is not able to do the resupination, which mean the turnover of the flower buds for 180 degrees. For this you must know, that the flower buds are formed with the labellum pointed upwards. But before opening the flowers by many, but not all orchid species they will turn for 180 degrees, therefore the labellum is pointed downwards. Very rarely the inflorescence is forked (Gymnadenia conopsea) or flowers are formed in the rachis (Orchis laxiflora).





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