Friday, 23 May 2014

Orchid thief strikes


A orchid thief has stolen a rare Early Purple specimen from an ancient wood in Milton Keynes.

The beautiful native wildflower was removed from Linford Wood, the largest of the city’s ancient woodlands, popular for its spring and summer flora.

According to local press, the theft has been reported to The Parks Trust, the charity that cares for Milton Keynes’ parks and green spaces. The trust is also calling for all visitors to the wood to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour to the police or to its community park rangers.

The early purple orchid is one of the earliest flowering orchids, often coinciding with bluebells. The heliotrope-coloured flowers grow in a dense, cone on a single spike and its leaves are glossy, dark green in colour with dark spots.

It is one of five orchid species to be found in the city’s ancient woodlands: the common spotted; broad leaved helleborine; greater butterfly and twayblade.

Removing plants from land without permission is a criminal offence and this incidence has been reported to Thames Valley Police.

This might seem a small matter in this day and age, but I still find it shocking that someone could commit such a botanical violation. Shame on them. 

The trust has wood patrols in force and is asking all visitors and local dog walkers in the park to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour to either the police or The Parks Trust on 01908 233600.

Caption: Early Purple Orchid

By Pamela Kelt