Orchids in Monferrato
Orchids in Monferrato.
In late spring, walking around the Monferrato countryside, you can admire natural masterpieces: the spontaneous orchids in Monferrato of the genus Ophrys.
Small and delicate, often hidden in the highest and dense vegetation, often so minute as to be kneeling in order to observe them.
But although they are best does not make them less valuable than their exotic cousins: are orchids from the most unique and elegant shapes and colours.
One of the best features is their very unique flower, which in this genre has undergone profound changes in form. Above all, the flower of Ophrys differentiated the Labellum (from Latin labellum, little lip): this is nothing but the result of the modification of one of the petals in various shapes and colours. Often the Labellum is covered by a thin hair, or appears smooth, getting more attention, it would seem an insect!
This then is the game that evolution does with these tiny orchids: first imitate insects pollinators: swollen, velvety, with ledges and small patterns similar to eyes, and colors and smells like female insects. Male insects, attracted to this deception, carry so unwittingly the pollen from flower to flower among flowers of the same species or of similar species.
This event is also the basis of great genetic variability of these orchids, and the reason for the presence of numerous hybrids, making it an evolving genre.
The charm of these orchids also resides in this, as well as in their rarity. Also because of their being absolutely impossible to grow wild in pots or in the garden, given their high specialisation, closely linked to the land on which they grow and the ecosystem that hosts them. They are also very fragile: being adapted to specific environments and very specialized insects, even a small disturbance in the ecosystem makes difficult its reproduction and propagation.
Pollution and overuse of insecticides can determine their disappearance, but here in the countryside of Monferrato are many lawns where you can see wild orchids, that’s a guarantee that we are in a healthy and unpolluted environment.