We can’t believe how many orchids there are to be seen around us this year. Normally there are a few conspicuous ones due to their scarcity, but this year there are so many around us in Folkestone that we have seen great swathes of them. They are not just on the Downs either. We have seen them flowering on verges, waste ground and even the central reservation of the M25 (where I had an hour to fully inspect them due to a hold up!). The majority of sightings have been for Pyramidal Orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis) with their intense magenta colouring however we have seen a few Common spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) too.
Actually Pyramidal Orchids are native to southwestern Eurasia, from western Europe through the Mediterranean region eastwards to Iran. In Germany, it is rare and was declared Orchid of the Year in 1990 to heighten awareness of this plant. This orchid is especially common on the Isle of Wight in the South of England, and was designated the county plant in 2008. On the Isle of Wight, it favours growth in chalky or sandstone-rich soil, and thus the reason why it is clearly flourishing so well here in Folkestone…long may it continue.