Monday, 18 April 2011


There was no proper walk for me today, but on the way back from the shops Mum suddenly pulled the car in by the side of the road because she'd spotted some orchids, popping up from the leaf litter at the side of the road.  We jumped out to explore more closely on foot and take some photos.
Beautiful purple orchid

The problem we have is that our orchid book is really rather rubbish, and we are having problems identifying which orchids we've found.  The one above looks like it could be a lady orchid, but I'm not entirely sure.
And this one, below, looks like mauve asparagus before it blooms, but then light blue flowers appear.
Orchid in bud

The purple asparagus one, in flower
All the photos I took are in this set on Flickr.  Does anyone know how to identify orchids?  Could you put names to any of the ones I've seen?  Do you have any really good orchid field guides? (I don't rate this one, which we have already, and has very poor photos).
The more I see these extraordinary (and often very ugly) flowers, the more I want to find out about them.  They need certain fungal conditions to grow, and often don't appear in the same place two years in a row.  Here in France they are partial to scrubland around oak trees, and the sides of roads or paths.
They are, frankly, bizarre.  I want to know more.
Two lady orchids


  1. Hello
    Feature in Independent on orchids just yesterday I think
    Have a look here-although the actual paper version had a lot more pics. Off to the recycling bin next as feeling inspired to identify!

  2. I have used the photographs on this site to help identify orchids near home, I don't know how suitable it is for France.


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