It’s that blooming time of year as orchid appears for first time

Press ReleaseUpdated: 14 June 2024Environment and Climate Emergency

Local bees have something to buzz about after a colourful marsh orchid has grown for the first time on council land.

Eagle-eyed Three Rivers District Council officers spotted the Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa), also known as the Leopard Marsh Orchid, on council-owned land in Rickmansworth.

Alex Laurie, Principal Trees and Woodlands Officer at the council, said: “It is fantastic to see this type of orchid grow on council-owned land. Certain parts of the council’s estate provide a perfect home as it likes damp, chalky soils, so hopefully we will see more in future years.

“The aim of our grassland management plan has always been to give more opportunity for wildlife to flourish, and on this evidence, I would say it is succeeding.”

Following the council’s decision in 2021 to manage more of its grasslands as Hay Meadow, a number of Orchid species have been recorded across open spaces in the district. This year Bee Orchid and Pyramidal Orchid have also been spotted in other parts of the council’s land.

Orchids are one Britian’s most elusive wildflowers, which produce tiny, almost microscopic seeds that can be blown many miles on the wind. Many species have a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with certain soil fungi, and with the right management can suddenly appear and thrive in grasslands where they were previously absent. It is hoped that with the changes to the way council manages its grasslands, these fascinating flowers will continue to thrive in its open spaces.