More of our fascinating local orchids are flowering as we move through May. At Bernwood Meadows, a BBOWT reserve near Oakley, the Green-winged orchid which favours ancient pastures is on display. Colours vary from pale pink to deep purple but the green veins inside its two upper sepals give this orchid its name.
Green-winged orchids at Bernwood Meadows
At another BBOWT reserve, Homefield Wood near Marlow, the majestic Military orchid is now blooming. Found only in a very few locations in the Chilterns and Kent plus one site in Suffolk, this species was thought to be lost until rediscovered in the 1950s.
Miltary orchid at Homefield Wood
At Hartslock, a nature reserve overlooking the River Thames near Goring, the equally rare Monkey orchid is flowering on a steep slope above the river. Although perhaps not as showy as the Military, it's scarcity still thrills orchid lovers, performing just here locally and a very few sites in Kent.
Monkey orchid at Hartslock
Another rare orchid that somewhat mysteriously suddenly appeared at Hartslock a few years ago is the striking Lady orchid, normally confined to woodland in east Kent.
Lady orchid at Hartslock
At this time of year our local Wildlife Trust reserves are well worth a visit, not only to enjoy these rather special plants but a host of other wildlife. Go to http://www.bbowt.org.uk/ for more information.