Highest orchid numbers for 25 years

A recent butterfly-orchid survey in Wales has revealed double the number of rare plants compared to last year and the highest number for 25 years.

Greater butterfly-orchid. Pic Beth Newman-Plantlife

Greater butterfly-orchid. Pic Beth Newman-Plantlife

The annual count of butterfly-orchids took place at the Caeau Tan y Bwlch reserve near Caernarfon, Wales.

In total 3495 orchids were counted, up from 1439 in 2010.

Plantlife Cymru’s conservation manager Dr Trevor Dines said: “Greater butterfly orchids are gorgeous with a faint vanilla scent but have disappeared from many sites across the UK.

“Orchid numbers do fluctuate and they will have liked the warm spring but such a huge increase is a real vote of confidence in the management we have introduced here over the last few years with the North Wales Wildlife Trust”.

The conservation charity counted the native white orchids in eight of the reserve’s ten fields. In one field, where no more than ten orchids have ever been recorded, there were 304.

Orchid numbers have been increasing steadily from 335 in 2008 to 953 in 2009 and 1439 in 2010.

Caeau Tan y Bwlch,which means “the fields below the mountain pass”, is a nature reserve on the northern slopes of Bwlch Mawr, with some of the last unimproved grassland fields left on the Lleyn Peninsula The reserve is owned by Plantlife and managed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust

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