Orchis purpurea   Lady Orchid R DD N

Orchis purpurea spike Orchis purpurea close Orchis purpurea whole

Many years ago the Forestry commission, obsessed to the point of addiction covering the UK with trees, tried to create a forest on a chalky bank in deepest Kent. The project failed and if the trees grew at all they were small and stunted. Hence the nickname Bonsai Bank.

Eventually common sense prevailed and the trees were removed. The bank reverted to natural species and a wealth of orchids including many Orchis purpurea (Lady Orchid) appeared and thrived in the dappled shade of shrub on chalk. Other orchid species were just as common with Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid) finished but Cephalanthera damasonium (White Helleborine), Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common-spotted Orchid) and Plantanthera chlorantha (Greater Butterfly Orchid) easily found in quantity.

This visit was part of The Wild Flower Society's 2007 meetings programme and there were so many groups of superb Orchis purpurea, one of the UK's most handsome orchids, that it really took our breath away.

Taxonomy: All authorities agree that the accepted, correct name for this species is Orchis purpurea Huds.

Bonsai Bank, near Anvil Green, Kent 2nd June 2007

Added on 4th June 2007, updated 26th January 2010, January 21st 2011, updated 12th Nov 2014

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