As more and more orchids are now appearing, I thought I’d post a few photos of those I’ve seen so far this year. The first were the aptly named Early purples (Orchis macula), though this year they were even earlier than usual I’m told – I spotted these beauties at Lavernock Nature Reserve on 23 April.
Next up were these pretty little Heath spotted-orchids (Dactylorhiza maculata) found growing at the Aberbargoed Grasslands National Nature Reserve on 15 and 21 March, when I was visiting for the Marsh fritillaries.
During Monday’s wander at Lavernock I spotted the first open flower of a Common spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsia) and on Thursday, 23 May, I found the first couple of these at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park.
And today’s delightful discovery, also at Cosmeston, was my first Bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) for 2019. I look forward to the warm summer days when the fields at Cosmeston are awash with (mostly Common spotted) orchids – they’re a joy to behold!
#30DaysWild, 30 Days Wild, Bee orchid, Blackcap, Brimstone butterfly, Common blue butterfly, Common spotted orchid, Emperor dragonfly, Grangemoor Park, Holly blue butterfly, Large skipper, long-tailed tit, Meadow Brown, Pyramidal orchid, Southern marsh orchid
Day 9 of #30DaysWild saw me at Grangemoor Park, a place that used to be Cardiff’s rubbish dump: when it closed in 1994, it contained an estimated four million cubic metres of garbage, both commercial and household. Now, it’s not only a public park but also a SINC (Site of Importance for Nature Conservation), and is home to a wonderfully diverse range of flora and fauna. My photos show just some of what I discovered there today …
For day three of #30DaysWild I went searching for orchids at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park, and I got lucky. The Common spotted-orchids are blooming in good numbers now, two of the small number of well hidden Greater butterfly-orchids are flowering, I found my first Bee orchid of the season, and I think I found my first Southern marsh-orchid as well. It couldn’t get much better than that!
Common spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)
Greater butterfly-orchid (Platanthera chlorantha)
Bee orchid (Ophrys apifera)
Southern marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) (and Common blue butterfly)
Anacamptis pyramidalis, Bee orchid, British flora, British orchids, Common spotted orchid, Cosmeston Lakes Country Park, Dactylorhiza fuchsii, Greater butterfly-orchid, native orchids, Ophrys apifera), orchid, Platanthera chlorantha, Pyramidal orchid
The meadows at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park are awash with orchids, Common spotted-orchids, (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), Bee orchids (Ophrys apifera), Pyramidal orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis) and, in a secluded location off the beaten track, a tiny smattering of Greater butterfly-orchids (Platanthera chlorantha). To walk along the paths amongst these beauties is simply magical!
Finding my very first Bee orchids (Ophrys apifera) in a local park this week made my day! I know they’re designed to entice male bees to attempt mating with their flowers in order to facilitate pollination but to me they actually look like jolly smiling and laughing mouths.
I had to find out more, and I have to say that, when it comes to wild plants, I love the Plantlife website – as well as giving you the straight facts and figures about British plants, they also include the most interesting fact-lets, like these:
* The aim of the mimicry is to attract passing male bees in the hope they will try to mate and thus aid pollination. In Britain, however, Bee orchids self-pollinate so the deception is not really required.
* This wild flower was once called the “Humble Bee” orchid (Humble being a variation of Bumble).
* According to Roman natural historian Pliny the Elder it was used by womenfolk to darken their eyebrows.
* The Bee orchid is the County Flower of Bedfordshire.
* In the Language of Flowers it stands for error and industry.