A close look at Orchid seed

Today I have been cleaning and checking my Fragrant Orchid seed which I gathered from the Sussex Downs (with the landowners permission). I have always wanted to show people what orchid seed looks like, but being so small one needs a microscope. At some of my shows I take a microscope for showing people lots of different seeds. However on this blog post I will show you what they look like…its amazing what you can achieve nowadays by placing a simple point and shoot digital camera on the end of a x20 microscope eyepiece.

So first lets show you what one of my Fragrant Orchids look like in the field:

Fragrant Orchid
One of my Fragrant Orchids

I took the photo above on June 20th 2012. I did my seed collecting on August 7th and continued to dry it and then cleaned it today.

I use a microscope to check the quality of the seed. The following photos shows you increasingly closer views of the Fragrant Orchid seed, to give you an idea of its relative size.

A dried Fragrant Orchid flower spike under my microscope


A close up of the tray under my microscope with a dried Fragrant Orchid flower spike with seed pods together with a few of its tiny seeds showing nicely against the white background


A microscope eye view of the tiny Fragrant Orchid seeds...like pieces of gold leaf


At even greater magnification...amazingly beautiful golden wonders!

I hope you enjoyed these pictures.

All of the native orchid and helleborine seed which I have observed is quite similar to look at in  shape although they do vary a little in colour. Fragrant Orchid is fairly dark, whereas Twayblade Orchid is quite light and even smaller and lighter…it seems to like to show off and float in the air…just because it can…I find myself raising the base of the storage container up to meet it rather than waiting for it to find its way to the bottom…well I haven’t got all night!