Friday, 15 March 2013

Bee Orchids 

Tetrad map of bee orchid up to March 2013. Bedfordshire

19 new Tetrad records have been made since the begining of the Bedfordshire Orchid Survey. Altogether 38 bee orchid locations have been sent in using the Adnoto recording system devised by Keith Balmer of our record centre. The records give location details of over 700 plants so far. Well done everyone who have sent in records, please keep them coming.

There is still plenty of time to spot bee orchids leaves so do visit your local road verge or even your lawn and have a good look.

Other winter green species have been located including green winged at Studham, man at Totternhoe and frog at Whipsnade.


Late March into April is a good time to begin to visit local woodlands to look for leaves of the early purple orchid. These are our earliest flowering orchid along with the green winged, and can be found in woodland and grassland, but most usually in old woodland, particularly those with bluebells.

Early purple orchid in Potton wood
The leaves are usually well spotted with purple blotches and spots, although unspotted plants may occur. The leaves are glossy green and the spots and blotches although often circular tend to be elongated along the leaf.

Early purple orchid leaves

They may be confused with other spotted leaf orchids particularly common spotted which tend to have non glossy leaves and when they are spotted tend to have elongated spots across the leaf; but this is not foolproof!

Common spotted orchid leaves

Early purples are one of the plants when found in woodland that indicates that woodland has long been present in that locality so many other plants of interest may be present.
Do let us know how you are getting on, we hope  for and look forward to a busy and enjoyable spring and early summer. Good luck!