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As their current conservation status in Britain is rated amber, meaning they are vulnerable and near-threatened, I feel privileged to have within easy travelling distance a large colony of Marsh helleborines (Epipactis palustris).

210707 marsh helleborine (1)

And, as our rainfall levels in Wales during May were the highest recorded since records began in 1862, this has been a very good year for a plant that thrives in the wet – hence, the ‘Marsh’ in its name.

These are low-growing orchids, no more than a foot in height, but it is well worth getting down to their level to appreciate more fully the elegant and delicate beauty of their flowers. To my fanciful eye, they sometimes resemble a woman dancing, her frilly white petticoats swirling about her. At other times, I see a white blouse, with an extravagant ruffle down the front, like the jabot worn by some judges. What do you see?

210707 marsh helleborine (4)