One of this year’s botanical pleasures has been my first sightings of Frog Orchids, Dactylorhiza viridis. I am not sure that I would have spotted them without the trained eyes of the other Wiltshire Botanical Society members. However, once I got my eye in, I was surprised how many there were all around my feet. Frog Orchids seem to hide amid other vegetation. Colour variations really help their brilliant camouflage.
Compare the images below. Note the colour differences and the way these Orchids snuggle up to other plants.
Frog Orchids are in decline due to farming practices. Sadly, there is a good reason for Orchids to camouflage themselves – and I am not thinking of hungry herbivores. Britain’s wild Orchids are threatened by a two-legged species with Orchidmania and a selfish desire to collect, sell and profit from these special plants. A newspaper article in the references below outlines the threat.
Enjoying Orchids in the Wild
Personally, I like to see these plants in the wild. I take numerous pictures on outings with other botanists and nature-lovers. It’s a spectacle definitely best shared with other enthusiasts in situ. The BSBI offers advice on how to do this without causing harm (see the Dunn & Macgregor link below). All the above photos were all taken a while ago. Hopefully, these Orchids have all now set seed. I will look forward to going back next year to see even larger colonies of Frog and other Orchids. It’s an experience best shared with care for future conservation.
© Karen Andrews
References and Further Reading
- Cole, Sean & Waller, Mike (): Britain’s Orchids. A field guide to the orchids of Great Britain and Ireland. BSBI. Princeton University Press.
- Dunn, Jon & Macgregor, Callum (2021): Good practice and bad habits in the pursuit of botanical beauty. BSBI News & Views.
- Harrap, Simon (2016): A Pocket Guide to the Orchids of Britain and Ireland. Bloomsbury.
- Horton, Helena (2022): Spate of orchid thefts in England puts rare species at risk.
Karen does not seek or receive any commercial interest or advantage from this blog. She is not promoting any business venture. She simply loves to share fascinating facts about plants. These pages illustrate her love of plants, botany, biodiversity, gardens and creative expression. There is always so much to learn about plant diversity. This blog is designed as a showcase for photography, commentary on plants and wildlife, gardens and other places visited, horticulture and related topics. Viewpoints are her own, not those of her employer.