New orchid discovery in Kirkcudbrightshire

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Monday 15th June 2009

Bee Orchid (©Mark Pollitt)A new orchid species for Dumfries and Galloway has just been discovered on a roadside verge in Kirkcudbrightshire.

Tony Barbour, an observant local recorder, made the discovery whilst photographing other plants on the verge. An orchid enthusiast, Tony noticed the unusual flowers and immediately reported the sighting to the DGERC. A visit to the site soon confirmed Tony's findings as Bee Orchids Ophrys apifera. The site had at least 90 flowering plants.

Bee Orchids are one of the UK's most well known orchids. Plants are typically 15-40cm tall and can bear from 2-7 flowers. Each flower has three prominent erect pink sepals and a lower lip resembling a fat bumblebee.

Bee Orchids are very rare in Scotland, known only from a few isolated sites. In England it occurs quite widely, and is present on base-rich soils such as chalk downs, calcareous grasslands and sand dunes. They also colonise disturbed industrial sites, disused quarries and newly-sown road verges.

The local council roads maintenance department have been informed to ensure that the area continues to receive an appropriate cutting regime to maintain the interest of the site.

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