Friday, 19 June 2015

Going native over wild orchids

While many folk obsess over exotic orchids, it’s time to wave the flag for the extraordinary variety of wild orchids in Britain and Europe. 

Sue Parker is a true orchidmaniac and has compiled a delightful ‘everything you need to know about wild orchids but were afraid to ask’ article.

Pop over to First Nature and read The Nature and Biology of Orchids - Sue Parker. It's a fascinating compilation of answers to questions compiled over time. The style is enthusiastic, well-written and easy to understand.

For instance, Sue tackles such issues as what causes hybrids, and what is a ‘hybrid swarm’, along with what causes freaks and monstrous forms to occur.

A little gem.

By Pamela Kelt

Caption: The attractive Serapias lingua, or Tongue Orchid, grows throughout much of Europe in both Atlantic and Mediterranean countries. Did you know the plants can grow up to 50cm in height? At first, the various types of tongue orchids, often found growing alongside each other, can be difficult to tell apart, writes Sue, but Serapias lingua is characterised by a dark red spot in the ‘throat’ of the flower. 

Friday, 12 June 2015

Fresh light on SA orchids

South Africa has an extraordinary treasure trove of orchids.

Orchids of South Africa is the first field guide to orchids in the area to be published in more than three decades. Orchid maniacs can drool over the nearly 500 orchid species found in the region, including Lesotho and Swaziland.

It features a  comprehensive over-view of orchids in their natural habitat, with photographs of each speices, distribution maps, flowering time-bars, and descriptive text to help with identification.

The paperback, by authors Steve Johnson and Benny Bytebier with illustrator Herbert Stärker, came out in May, with a grand 536 pages and 2,500 colour photos. From publisher Random House Struik, it’s available to purchase online for £19.99.

Caption: Bartholina burmanniana, Spider Orchid, a geophyte from Western Cape Renosterveld vegetation, South Africa

Friday, 5 June 2015

Risk of extinction

The Lima Orchid (Chloraea undulata) was considered extinct for more than half a century, until it was rediscovered thriving in the hills of Asia in Cañete.

Sadly, this is no time to be complacent. It seems that Peru has more than 1,000 species at risk of extinction, including certain orchids.

A group of nearly 100 researchers and specialists, working with the National Forest and Wildlife Service (Serfor) has assembled the list of endangered species of wild flora. It will appear in October.

The previous 2006 list totalled 777 species of flora. Now the new list aims to educate and promote the significance of preserving the biodiversity of flora. Other endangered flora include rosewood, cedar and mahogany.

By Pamela Kelt

Caption: Epidendrum secundum, Peru