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Orchids and Meadows This May

Posted: Monday 11th May 2015 by Alice Hunter

As spring warms into summer and more insects emerge, our hedgerows, verges and meadows burst with blossom taking advantage of the sunshine and pollinators. A whole host of different flowers emerge from Cowslips and Lady’s Smock to Pink Campion, Meadow Sweet and Orchids.

Orchids are captivating plants for many people and with around four times as many orchid species as mammals known to science it is unsurprising that they are admired around the world. In fact vanilla is the seed of a type of orchid! While our British orchids are a smaller than most of their tropical counterparts, the flowers are no less spectacular and in some places form carpets of colour. 

With such a variety of flowers comes a great diversity of adaptations which enable each flower to thrive in their community. Orchids provide one of the most spectacular range of adaptations among British flowers. One example is the Bee Orchid which, like several British orchid species is named for its appearance. This stunning flower uses a petal shaped and coloured like a bee to fool insects into pollinating it by making them believe that they have found a potential mate.

One of the finest places to enjoy such a variety of beautiful blooms is Blagrove Common. This marshy meadow is ideal for Marsh Orchids as well as Common Spotted Orchids and a number of hybrids which flower in good numbers here. Another is Hunsdon Mead which supports Marsh Marigolds, Ragged Robin and Green Winged Orchids. 

Why not get out and look for some colourful meadows yourself and don’t forget to let us know what you find.

Article - Alice Kendrick
Picture - Alice Hunter Photography

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