BRITISH MINIATURE ORCHIDS - FIVE BRITISH MINIATURES.
Large is not necessarily beautiful, and amongst our own indigenous orchids you may come across in your ramblings are the following "little gems".
Free Orchid shows.
Every month we hold a free orchid show; either near Preston, Manchester or Warrington.
New members are always welcome, but our normal monthly shows are free to all, come along and take a look at your local orchid society.
See our orchid show page
The RHS Flower Show
July 19th to 23rd 2017
Come along and meet us in the Society Marquee, free helpful advice and orchid potting demonstrations; we can supply you with top quality approved orchid compost.
The Society once again taken a Gold Medal in last years event, along with the coveted trophy for Best display in the Marquee.
Our display in 2015 year created in association with the OSGB and took Gold, as well as the coveted Holford Medal for a slideshow of it please click here
The Small White Orchid.(pseudorchis albida).
Is by the strangest of coincidence a small white Orchid, although probably the largest under discussion in this article.
Standing at around 6 inches or more, it is a grassland species, preferring hay meadows, pastureland and grassy areas, ideally in hilly countryside.
Mainly at home in short turf, during the period of May - July it bears a spike of small flowers from white through to yellowish green, carrying a faint scent of vanilla.
The Bog Orchid.(hammarbya paludosa).
Must then be the smallest, at only 2- 3 inches high, and having a liking for very wet ground, it is most likely to be found growing on a cushion of Sphagnum.
It is very probably overlooked amongst its surrounding plant life.
Unusually for an orchid, the lip of the 2-3 mm dia. greenish yellow flower on this species is placed at the top, and not at the bottom, as is common amongst most of the orchid family.
It flowers July - September
The Fen Orchid.(liparis loeselii).
Is one of the rarest, found in fenland in three clearly defined areas of the country. The fenlands of East Anglia, South Wales and North Devon.
In the former region, sadly it is declining because of drainage and disturbance of the wetland areas.
In Wales and Devon it is to be found growing mainly in the areas of marshy ground generally located behind the sand dunes, and it seems that these areas may well be more suited to it than the fenlands after which it is named, as especially in Wales, it would appear to be on the increase.
In the west of the country the two leaves which the plant possesses are broad and blunt and the plants so formed fall into a separate variety called "ovata".
Like the Bog orchid, both varieties possess something not normally associated with British orchids, in that they have a set of two pseudobulbs at their base.
The lax inflorescences bear yellowish-green flowers during May - July.
The Musk Orchid.(herminium monorchis).
In Britain, the Musk Orchid is at the most northerly extremes of its preferred environment.
Consequently it has made its home on the warmer chalk and grasslands of our southern counties.
At around 6 inches tall at the end of June it produces a spike of 20 to 30 bell shaped yellow - green flowers, with a deeply lobed appearance.
The flowers produce a copious amount of nectar, smelling not of musk. but of honey.
Creeping Ladies Tresses.(goodyera repens).
This is a pinewood species, and it is in remnants of The Great Caledonian Forest where you are most likely to come across this Orchid.
It is again around 6 inches tall, and within the large open spaces which a mature natural pinewood develops this plant thrives, it is a plant of the northern parts of England and Scotland, although curiously enough, it seems to have taken a foot-hold within the pine forests which have been created in North Norfolk, presumably introduced at the same time as the seedling trees from Scotland.
It is not entirely confined to the pinewood, sometimes appearing in mixed pine and birchwood, and will endure amongst heather and heathland shrubs.
The name "creeping" is from the plants habit of sending out long runners, through the pine needled forest floor, which bear upright flowering spikes of around 4 inches tall with around 10 to 14 white scented flowers per spike, There is no spur to the flower, and the lip is unlobed, with a grooved end which folds over at its tip, flowering season June - August.
Here in the U.K. our native orchids are generally less showy than the tropical ones, and are ground dwelling, it is against the law to pick them or to knowingly destroy them.
There is an excellent book available on British Orchids, by Roger Bowmer, and published by The Crowood Press, with beautifully illustrated articles on each species and the best places and times to see them its a must for lovers of our own British Orchid Species. It is available from through our own bookshop, simply follow the link for British Orchids.
However there are several nurseries who specialise in our own native plants, and some stunning hybrids Should you wish to have orchids in your own garden, then you will have much more success with commercially grown plants.
visit http://lanesidealpines.com a commercial hardy orchid nursery.