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Beautiful Flowers Along Dutch Dikes

Updated on October 22, 2015
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Mario Buildreps is a graduate engineer. Become aware of topics in a way you have never heard before.

This picture shows some of the wild flowers we encountered during our walk through the typical Dutch landscape.
This picture shows some of the wild flowers we encountered during our walk through the typical Dutch landscape. | Source

Habitat of the Spotted Reed Orchid

Source

Highly Protected

Approximately five years ago I heard of a situation of a green contractor that mowed a whole area where Spotted Reed Orchids were growing. Wild Orchids are heavily protected by Law. This green contractor was punished with three days in a police prison and paying a penalty of nearly € 50,000. Perhaps slightly exaggerated but it certainly motivated contractors to be more careful while mowing on public properties.

The Blooming Season of the 'Spotted Reed Orchid'

The 'Spotted Reed Orchid' is the typical flower of the (wet) Dutch country side. The blooming season of the 'Spotted Reed Orchid' started quite early this season, because the Winter (2013/2014) was very mild and Spring started very early. Usually this wild Orchid starts to bloom at the end of May. Now it started to bloom one month earlier.

Spotted Reed Orchid is literally translated from Dutch, the official English name is: Southern Marsh-orchid, but this one is only without the 'spots'. I couldn't find an English equivalent for this 'Spotted Reed Orchid'.

The scientific name of the Spotted Reed Orchid is Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. praetermissa var. junialis. This flower is highly protected by Law, which means it is not allowed to pick them or even to mow in the surrounding of the habitat where the Orchid is growing. Some people already become nervous by only photographing this rare species.

This walk in the surrounding of Rotterdam near my home is very beautiful and contains all the typical sides of the Dutch nature, especially many of this wild Orchids.

A markerOmmoordse veld -
get directions

The Periwinkle
The Periwinkle | Source
The flowers of the Hawthorn tree
The flowers of the Hawthorn tree | Source
The Wisteria
The Wisteria | Source

The Tour

All the flowers I photographed are growing in the 'wild' Dutch nature.

  • Just outside my home I photographed this beautiful Periwinkle that grows luxuriant and exuberant this year. The Periwinkle is an evergreen ground covering plant.
  • A few hundred meters further grows a Hawthorn tree without thorns, family of the Roses, with beautiful white flowers that in a few weeks turn into a beautiful pink colour. The hawthorn tree was honoured by many ancient cultures like the Germans, Celts, Greeks and Romans as a sacred shrub or tree.
  • The habitat of this beautiful Wisteria is not typical Dutch but more worldwide. It is said that in California grow Wisteria's with branches of about 150 meters long, with 1,5 million flowers, during her blooming period of five weeks. Wisteria are not easy blossoming, it can take up to ten years before a Wisteria starts to bloom. The Wisteria is very toxic, especially the branches, the pods and the seeds.
  • Below is a picture of the Spotted Reed Orchid. You can see on the leaves why the plant got this name. The Spotted Reed Orchid is already many years on the so called "Rode lijst ~eng: Red list". This list contains all the plants and animals that are protected by law. Nearly 40% of all the wild plants in The Netherlands deteriorated in such numbers that over 1500 plants became protected, including this famous Spotted Reed Orchid. This beautiful flower is very picky.

The Spotted Reed Orchid

The Spotted Reed Orchid
The Spotted Reed Orchid | Source

General Description of the Spotted Reed Orchid

Item
Properties
Height
20 to 60 cm
Colour flowers
Pink to Purple
Leaves
width/length ratio: 1÷5
Sex
Both (Hermaphroditic)
Flowering months
May, June, July
Fruit
Capsule
Lifespan
Geofyt (winter buds below ground).

The stems of the Reed Orchid are upwardly concave and almost fully grown already at the beginning of flowering, meaning that the stems don't grow any further after flowering. The light green leaves are tilted fairly upwards. At the top, the leaves are often a slightly cap-like. The reed orchid spreads itself through fine dust seeds.

  • Surrounding - Mostly sunny, rarely shaded. Open places on moist to wet soil.
  • Soil - Moderately nutritious, slightly acidic to calcareous.
  • Most seen at - Marshy grasslands, meadows, wet, lightly fertilized pasture bosom meadows and river valley meadows. Roadsides, along railway (railway embankments and ditches), coastal dunes (dune slacks), marshes (quaking, grazed or mown reeds and brackish water peat), waterfronts (along seepage ditches) and values ​​outside the dikes.

The Orchid is, from the point of view of a bee, a sensual flower. The lascivious shape of the tongue is very inviting for bees, while the 'roof' protects the bee during his activities.
The Orchid is, from the point of view of a bee, a sensual flower. The lascivious shape of the tongue is very inviting for bees, while the 'roof' protects the bee during his activities. | Source

Reason of Protection

The Spotted Reed Orchid is just like the regular Southern Marsh-orchid threatened by the disappearance of its preferred habitat through reclamation, commissioning by agriculture or forestry, and eutrophication of wetlands.

The 'ordinary' Reed Orchid

The Buttercup
The Buttercup | Source
The Forget-Me-Not
The Forget-Me-Not | Source
The Dandelion
The Dandelion | Source
The Wild Hyacinth
The Wild Hyacinth | Source
The Dog-Rose
The Dog-Rose | Source
Unidentified
Unidentified | Source

The Tour Continues...

  • The Buttercup (Ranunculus) is one of the beautiful meadow flowers that is family of the major gender of the Ranunculaceae that contains over 400 flowers. The Buttercup is toxic for all grassland grazers. The blooming period of the Buttercup runs from April until October. Its habitat is mainly all over Europe.
  • The Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis) is not a typical Dutch flower, the flower is widely spread all over the world. It is a very fragile beautiful little flower. This one on the photograph has a two tone core - yellow and white. The name Forget-Me-Not is in all languages the same and is connected with romance and tragic.
  • The Dandelion is a very general widespread flower. It is unbelievable but already in The Netherlands the Dandelion family contains 250 micro-species. The Dandelion can have its taproots up to 2 meters deep. The Dandelion has medicinal substances for all kinds of disorders, like renal and biliary disorders and artritis. The Dandelion is beloved by Bees. The Dandelion can spread its pollen over a distance of 10 kilometre. To produce 1 kilogram of honey the bees have to drop by along 125,000 Dandelions.
  • The Wild Hyacinth (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is family of the Asparagus. The Wild Hyacinth mainly grows in North-Western Europe. This fragile plant is threatened with extinction mainly due to deforestation and hybridization with other exotic species. Pollination mainly takes place by Hoverflies.
  • We presumed this was a Dog-Rose (Rosa canina), the most wide spread species of the wild Rose family. Usually the Dog-Rose blooms in June and July, but this one was already blooming at the end of April. The fruits of the Dog-Rose, the rosehips are very healthy and contain Vitamin C, B1 and B2. The Dog-Rose is mainly pollinated by bees.
  • The last flower remained unfortunately unidentified.

Spotted Flowers

(click column header to sort results)
Order  
Spotted in order of Walk  
1
Periwinkle
2
Hawthorn
3
Wisteria
4
Spotted Reed Orchid
5
Buttercup
6
Forget-Me-Not
7
Dandelion
8
Wild Hyacinth
9
Dog-Rose
10
Unidentified
Source

Five Meters Beneath Sea Level

This picture shows the large difference in height between the river Rotte (A), the first ditch (B) and the second ditch (C) more inland. The Rotte is connected via sluices with the river Maas, which in turn, is directly connected with the sea and its varying level. Because of this the Maas is subjected to the ebb and flow movements, but the water level of the Rotte is approximately average between ebb and flow, therefore constant and approximately on 'Normaal Amsterdam Peil' (NAP). The water level of this whole area is regulated through very complicated and sophisticated pumping systems and overflow systems. The ground floor level of the buildings at the back of the picture are approximately 5 meters (15 feet) beneath sea level as well as the rest of the city of Rotterdam.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A draft-horse in the nearby petting zooA view on the city of RotterdamA ThistleA reflection of the other side in the river 'Rotte'A few horses in the fieldsTypical Dutch ditches at level 'C', five meters below sea levelIn this field grow many emerging Spotted Reed Orchids, at level 'C", five meters below sea levelA beautiful small reed landWillows and cow parsley along the waterThis two happy Geese families were swimming in a river parallel to the Rotte at level 'B'.
A draft-horse in the nearby petting zoo
A draft-horse in the nearby petting zoo | Source
A view on the city of Rotterdam
A view on the city of Rotterdam | Source
A Thistle
A Thistle | Source
A reflection of the other side in the river 'Rotte'
A reflection of the other side in the river 'Rotte' | Source
Source
A few horses in the fields
A few horses in the fields | Source
Typical Dutch ditches at level 'C', five meters below sea level
Typical Dutch ditches at level 'C', five meters below sea level | Source
In this field grow many emerging Spotted Reed Orchids, at level 'C", five meters below sea level
In this field grow many emerging Spotted Reed Orchids, at level 'C", five meters below sea level | Source
A beautiful small reed land
A beautiful small reed land
Willows and cow parsley along the water
Willows and cow parsley along the water | Source
This two happy Geese families were swimming in a river parallel to the Rotte at level 'B'.
This two happy Geese families were swimming in a river parallel to the Rotte at level 'B'. | Source

About which flower did you like reading the most?

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© 2014 Buildreps

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    • Buildreps profile image
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      Buildreps 3 years ago from Europe

      Thanks for dropping by AliciaC. I had a nice time writing this Hub.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the photos! They're beautiful. I especially like the opening collage. Thank you for sharing the interesting information about nature in your area.

    • Buildreps profile image
      Author

      Buildreps 3 years ago from Europe

      Thanks Richard, for your compliment. We would be honoured to show you this fantastic surrounding.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      A fantastic hub. Next time we're in Holland, we'll check it out