ORCHID MA­NIA

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Orchids -

For cen­turies or­chids have ex­erted a par­tic­u­lar fas­ci­na­tion on us. At its worst, this orchid ma­nia man­i­fests it­self in the re­moval of wild plants for pri­vate col­lec­tions, an en­vi­ron­men­tal sin that reached a peak in Vic­to­rian times when or­chids were plun­dered around the world to feed the or­chidelerium craze. Sadly, it con­tin­ues to this day: some of Bri­tain and Ire­land’s most en­dan­gered species are still il­le­gally dug up. So it’s im­por­tant that we be­have re­spon­si­bly while or­chid­hunt­ing with naked eye and cam­era. Al­ways be care­ful not to ac­ci­den­tally dam­age nearby plants, and, at par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive sites, stick to marked paths.

Left: col­lect­ing wild­flow­ers, par­tic­u­larly or­chids, be­came a craze in the Vic­to­rian era. Below: a botan­i­cal il­lus­tra­tion pub­lished in 1846 of the de­sir­able plants.

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