Donations & Appeals:
Save our native Orchids
About this product
My first was a burnt-tip orchid. I remember the thrill of the discovery and the delicate beauty of its rusty-purple and white flower spike basking in the evening sun. Unfortunately, it is becoming harder to see these much loved wild flowers as they are increasingly under threat from inappropriate grazing, pollution and habitat loss.
Orchids present Plantlife with an interesting conservation challenge. They are slow to grow and reproduce: lady orchids can take 8–10 years to first flower. Grazing by deer or rabbits can harm species such as fly orchid, and changes in climate have been particularly detrimental to man orchid, with last year’s warm, dry spring scorching off a number at our Ranscombe reserve before they could flower. Despite these challenges, we have been doing a great deal to help nature along and we need your support to do more.
Ranscombe Farm is home to 10 orchid species including bee orchid and common twayblade. Our focus has been on improving conditions for the more threatened species - white helleborine, man orchid, lady orchid and fly orchid. We have extended the grassland to help increase populations of man orchid and have encouraged the spread of beech trees because of their mycorrhizal relationship* with white helleborine. Richard, our Reserve Manager, hand-pollinated a lone lady orchid plant and each pollinated flower has produced a seed pod which is promising.
Due to the careful management of our hay meadows at Joan’s Hill Farm over the past 20 years, we have seen green-winged orchid numbers increase from just a handful to several hundred. And in Wales we have been carrying out our annual orchid survey at our Cae Blaen-dyffryn reserve since 1998, and we have seen a 164% increase in lesser butterfly-orchid and a 1789% increase in greater butterfly-orchid.
However none of this is possible without your help...
It costs £80,000 a year to protect and improve our reserves so they can continue to be sanctuaries for orchids. Your donation would fund our conservation work extending and improving grassland habitat, managing woodland areas, and improving grazing patterns.
Here are some examples of how your money could be spent:
£20 pays to keep our reciprocating blade mower running and in good repair for one day’s hay-cutting of grasslands, to create the light and space for orchids to grow
£30 buys a new blade for the heavy duty brush cutter needed to get through the tough growth in woodlands and scrub
£60 funds our volunteer team spending half-a-day carrying out essential coppicing work with our Ranscombe Warden, Ben.
Native British orchids are some of the most beautiful and delicate species in the UK but they are in decline and without intervention these species could be lost. Please give what you can so we can preserve these orchids for future generations to enjoy. Thank you in advance for your support.
Plantlife Reserves Manager