Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rare Musk Orchids at two sites in the Cotswolds July 2012

This very small Orchid is more likely to be trampled on rather than admired by passers by , the whole plant is only a few centimetres tall and the tiny flowers about 2 mm in length . Plus it's a sort of yellowish green colour all over so until you get your eye in they are pretty camouflaged amongst the short grass.
It's classified as vulnerable in the U.K. as numbers are declining .
It was great to discover two sites where it is growing in Gloucestershire within a week.

Barrow Wake  near Birdlip 05/07/2012 

Swift's Hill near Slad 08/07/2012

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Up close with Leckhampton Hill's finest , White Helleborines 29/05/2012

The White Helleborine is classed as "Vulnerable" in the U.K. because it's numbers have been steadily declining . It's not protected like the Red Helleborine in the previous post so you can get up close to see the structure of the flowers. It is a very close relative of the Red so it has similar flower structure. 

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Extremely rare Red Helleborines , privileged to see these in flower in the Cotswolds

The Red Helleborine is the second rarest Orchid in the U.K. classified as "Critically Endangered"
It now only survives at 3 small sites in the entire U.K. with only a small handful of plants at each . Luckily one of these sites is in Gloucestershire and even more luckily when we visited this weekend ( 1st July ) there were 4 plants that had flowered. It's not possible to get close to the plants as they are protected in a fenced enclosure . So armed with a tripod and the only zoom lenses we had that would fit the holes in the wire, we took the best shots we could in the windy conditions and shadows of the trees. The bright pink , distinctive flowers were easy to spot amongst the green undergrowth. The close up photos are not macro shots but crops from the picture immediately below them which accounts for the average image quality.
I've included a shot of Simon at the tripod outside the mini plant Colditz so you can see what we were up against.

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