Wild Orchids

Wednesday, June 24th 2020

Spring is nearly over and the reserve is looking good with many of the flowers out. The wild orchids are now at their peak with the Early Purple having finished and the Northern Marsh and Common Spotted abundant. Best seen near the heath but scattered anywhere the grass is kept short. They have the smallest of seeds and only germinate where the right type of mycorrhizal fungus grows - and that can include a garden lawn and road side verge as well as our reserve. There are always some hybrids so identification can pose problems.

Close up the individual flowers are quite intricate. This photograph is of a Common Spotted Orchid.

Below is a Northern Marsh one.

This year the Early Marsh orchid is only just coming into flower on the fen near Spigot Mere. 

After the brilliance of the orchids a less obvious flower, often overlooked, is on the Alder Buckthorn. Attention was drawn to it by the buzzing of bumble bees. A native tree, it has been planted mainly to provide food for Brimstone Butterfly caterpillars but it also earns its keep as a source of nectar.

This blog post was kindly written by Dr Peter Langham who also provided the photographs.


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