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Wild Orchids

Most people think of orchids as huge white or purple tropical flowers, growing on trees, and sold at expensive florists' or more recently in supermarkets and garden centres.

Few people know that orchids can be found all over the world, and that there are dozens of species of European terrestrial wild orchids. They are often relatively small and mysterious plants growing in obscure wild and unkept areas, often among grasses or in undergrowth, and therefore almost invisible (except when flowering when they can be extremely beautiful).

Many wild orchids are legally protected, but this fact does not stop people picking them, ploughing them, or mowing them out of existence!

In or near the commune of Franqueville-Saint-Pierre, you can easily find a dozen different species of wild orchids. They could even be growing in your own garden lawn, without you knowing it.

If you are interested, I will happily take you out for a walk to show you some of them. I can also help you to identify them from photos but please don't pick them. The flowers must go to seed to allow the plants to spread.

article and photos © 2013 Jan Wikramaratna
to see photos of wild orchids growing within 5km of FSP ...
  • move your mouse cursor slowly over the names to see the photo;
  • click on some of the names to see a second photo:
Early Purple Orchid *** Pyramidal Orchid *** Lizard Orchid
Butterfly Orchid   Twayblade   Lady Orchid
Broad-leaved Helleborine   Heath Spotted Orchid   Common Spotted Orchid
Late Spider Orchid   Bee Orchid   Military Orchid
Early Spider Orchid   Dark Red Helleborine   Fragrant Orchid
Large White Helleborine        
*photos of less-local orchids (growing at various other places in Normandy)
*Southern Marsh Orchid   *Green-Winged Orchid   *Loose-Flowered Orchid
*Monkey Orchid   *Dactylorhiza species  

undergrowth is a mass of bushy plants, growing under trees, etc. = brousaillle a flower = une fleur   to flower [vb] is to produce flowers = fleurir

to mow is to cut grass with a machine = tondre

a plough is a tool used to break the earth in a field and turn it = une charrue to plough [vb] = labourer
fragrant means sweet-smelling = parfumé(e) a lawn is an area of finely-cut grass = pelouse to pick is to take a flower or a leaf, by cutting or breaking its stem = cueillir
seeds are produced by a plant and will grow into new plants to seed [vb] is to produce seeds to go to seed is an expression meaning 'to produce seeds'

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revised :  (dactylorhiza) 12 June (white helleborine) 26 May & (monkey) 13 May 2014 (loose-flowered) 5 July 2013
/ created : 28 June 2013 (original version : May-2010 without photos)

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