Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Monday, 7 June 2010 12:40 UK
New bog orchid find in Mid Wales
Fragrant orchid
Fragrant Orchid numbers have declined in recent years due to the loss and overgrazing of meadows

A new population of one of Wales' most endangered orchids was the major discovery of the latest Welsh Orchid Survey.

The bog orchid was found at the Elan Valley estate, near Rhayader.

More than 250 sightings of different species were recorded throughout Wales by Powys Flora Conservation (PFC).

These records are now online at the NBN Gateway, a national database of information on wildlife and their habitats throughout the UK.

It is clear from the e-mails received that people are worried about the protection of orchids in Wales, especially from orchid collectors
Dr Elisabeth Harris

Dr Elisabeth Harris, is the project manager of PFC, which aims to encourage gardeners to grow wild flowers in their gardens for wildlife and pleasure.

She said: "We had a great response especially from the counties of Powys, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Gower

"As predicted the most seen species was the early purple orchid."

Sightings represented many habitats from wild areas on Gower to more managed habitats such as churchyards and roadside verges.

The survey has highlighted the importance of nature reserves for rarer species of orchids in Wales such as the Fen Orchid and for commoner species such as the Heath Spotted Orchid.

Dr Harris added: "It is clear from the e mails received that people are worried about the protection of orchids in Wales, especially from orchid collectors.

"But there were also concerns about losses of habitat and the cutting of roadside verges with orchids in full bloom.

"Thank you to everyone who sent in records and it is important to recognise their contribution."

The bog orchid was discovered last year by Michael Waller.

Theft

He said: 'I was driving back from our holiday cottage in Mid Wales when we decided to stop at a floating peat bog to photograph the bog asphodels and sundews.

"After hearing that the bog orchids had become extinct in the valley since 2007 I thought there was no chance of finding any.

"But this time I was lucky and to my great surprise I managed to locate 10 flowering plants in one small area of the bog."

The Bog Orchid (Hammarbya paludosa) is normally found in acid peat bogs along with mats of saturated sphagnum mosses and other plants such as sedges, cross-leaved heath, bog asphodel and round-leaved sundew.

It usually flowers from July to mid-September and can have up to 15 yellowish-green flowers.

It has declined in the UK due to loss of habitat, grazing livestock and theft by collectors.




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