Monday, March 03, 2008

Of the 20,000 species worldwide, 300 are found in Europe and up to 26 in Cumbria

"species... 300 are found in Europe [so little !] and up to 26 in Cumbria [county in the extreme North West of England] plus some sub-species andcrosses.Most are rare or very rare and are easily disturbed... of the 25 British orchids listed in the Red Book, two are now thought to be extinct, seven are endangered and 12 are judged as vulnerable.Cumbria is relatively rich in species compared with most other parts of the country, probably because of its variety of habitats, its climate and lackof disturbance.Orchids are likely to be killed by the application of phosphate and nitrate fertilisers, as they need low soil fertility to survive.Cumbria has been less intensively farmed than other places and so there has been relatively low use of these fertilisers....More common is the dactylorhiza species including marsh, spotted and fragrant types with their purple pyramid of flowers.They are impressive when together in large numbers, such as the 4,000 plants counted on a quarter-mile stretch of main road north of Kendal.By contrast, the extremely rare and beautiful lady?s slipper orchid was thought to have been reduced to one site in Yorkshire by enthusiasts collecting from the wild (now illegal) and changes in agricultural practice.Many Cumbria Wildlife Trust nature reserves are blessed with orchids but Bowness-on-Solway reserve, west of the village, is a good place in summer to find the common spotted orchid.Improved horticultural techniques now mean British species and crosses are more readily available from nurseries and make good garden species,provided you replicate natural conditions ? low fertility, limited disturbance and appropriate growing conditions.Moist conditions for spotted and marsh dactylorhiza species and crosses areprobably a good place to start."URL :


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