A couple of days ago I drove 4 miles to Brae and then walked across the island to Druim an Aonaich, perhaps my favourite place on Raasay.

There were plenty of orchids in flower: Coeloglossum viride (Frog Orchid), Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted-orchid), D. maculata (Heath Spotted-orchid), D. purpurella (Northern Marsh-orchid), D. traunsteinerioides (Narrow-leaved Marsh-orchid), Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid), Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid) and almost, but not quite in flower, Epipactis atrorubens (Dark-red Helleborine).

Dactylorhiza  traunsteinerioides

Dactylorhiza traunsteinerioides

Epipactis atrorubens

Epipactis atrorubens

There were, of course, lots of other excellent limestone-loving plants. The Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens) had mostly gone to seed, but quite a few flowers remain. The Polystichum lonchitis (Holly-fern) was looking good but the single plant of Polystichum x illyricum (P. aculeatum x lonchitis) has now gone. It was on the bed of a burn that is usually dry because the water drains away through the limestone before reaching the cliff edge. I suspect that during a spell of heavy rain the burn will have flowed all the way to the edge and carried this rare hybrid over for a fall of perhaps 100m.

Meanwhile, Nick found Pseudorchis albida (Small-white Orchid) at Earlish, something he has been looking out for over the years as there was an old record:

Pseudorchis albida

Pseudorchis albida     Image: N.Hodgetts


2 Responses to “Orchids”

  1. Terry Swainbank Says:

    If that is that limestone outcrop where you led a BSBI group some 10 or 15 years ago, then I agree its a super place!

  2. Stephen Says:

    Yes it is and yes it is!

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