Wild Orchids of Wales

My notes from fantastic talk ‘Wild Orchids of Wales’ by Sue Parker, Publicity Officer at Hardy Orchid Society

White flower orchid spike
Irish Ladies Tresses, Spiranthes romanzoffiana

Great talk by Sue Parker at Llechryd & District Gardening Club. She’s part of First Nature who publish a whole range of wildlife guides and books, and she’s Publicity Officer for the Hardy Orchid Society.

She has written a lovely looking book called Wild Orchids of Wales, I have added it to my reading list.

These are my rather random notes from the talk, in no particular order. Lots about where to see particular orchids in Wales.

  • “Rye grass is a destroyer of wildlife and particularly of wild flowers”
  • Orchids don’t survive if dug up and moved to a garden. Sit in Abercych totally stripped 😢
  • Nature reserves - see website for full list
    • 75 National Nature Reserves in Wales
    • As many local Nature Reserves
    • >100 Wildlife Trust sites
    • RSPB sites
  • Gallery of UK & Ireland wild orchids on website
  • Gymnodenia cnopsea, Chalk Fragrant Orchid, limestone
  • Rhinanthus major, Yellow Rattle, top orchid indicator
  • Indicators alkaline soil: Chalk Milkwort, Bloody Cranesbill, Oregano, Spring Gentian
  • Indicators acid moorland: Bog Asphodel, Common Butterwort, ?
  • Anglesey, alkaline, sea shells
    • Alan Waters country Park, The Warren, Anglesey Fens
  • Dactylorhiza maculata, Heath Spotted Orchid, likes acid soil
  • Minera Quarry, turned into nature reserve (turn the world into a nature reserve…)
  • Vicarage Meadows, Small White Orchid, Brecknock Wildlife Trust
  • Elan Valley East, Hammerbya palidosa, Bog Orchid
  • Oxwich Bay in July, Anacamplis pyramidalis, Pyramidical Orchid, great numbers
  • Kensig National Nature Reserve, nr Port Talbot, Liparis loeslii, Fen Orchid, pioneer orchid
  • Dyfi National Nature Reserve, Borth (hybrid hotspot)
    • Spiranthes romanzoffiana, Irish Ladies Tresses, extinct now in England, recorded for 1st time ever in Wales, July 2019. The talk of the orchid town!
    • Doesn’t occur in Europe: Wales, Ireland & North America
  • Orchid requires fungi to propagate because seed so small it carries no nutrients, needs symbiotic exchange with fungi

After the talk, I managed to talk with Sue’s partner Pat O’Reilly, author of Fascinated by Fungi. Short but very interesting chat about fungi. There’s a totally purple orchid in France that is only found by a certain species of Pine and Russula fungi. It doesn’t have any chlorophyll, and parasitises the relationship between the pine and the fungi. Fascinating.

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