Now is time to see beau­ti­ful or­chids

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Business Kent Update -

Kent is one of the best coun­ties to see a range of rare or­chids, es­pe­cially on the chalk grass­lands of the Kent Downs. I would rec­om­mend get­ting out to one of your lo­cal na­ture re­serves to en­joy and pho­to­graph them.

One chalk grass­land re­serve is at Park­gate near El­ham, which is man­aged by the Kent Wildlife Trust, which has a won­der­ful dis­play of or­chids in­clud­ing fly or­chids and the mon­key or­chids. The mon­key or­chids are un­usual in the orchid world as it starts to flower from the top down, com­pared to other or­chids which first open their flow­ers from the bot­tom up.

The mon­key or­chids are named due to the won­der­ful flow­ers which are shaped a lit­tle bit sim­i­lar to lit­tle mon­keys, with thin arms and legs and a tail. How­ever, the fly or­chids are a lit­tle bit sim­pler in style, but still re­tain­ing the el­e­gance, in that it is an orchid on a spike. The fly orchid re­leases pheromones which at­tracts male dig­ger wasps which pol­li­nates the orchid. Fly orchid is a more wood­land edge orchid and can sur­vive in dap­pled shade, but will dis­ap­pear with to­tal shade.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Owen Leyshon, Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Part­ner­ship, tele­phone 01797 367934 or log on to

A mon­key orchid

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