Day 10 of 30 Days Wild – Grass verges and Orchids

Grass verges are a very important source of food and shelter for many species of wildlife, including butterflies and bees.

It is great to see around my local patch that only the verges on a junction or corner have been cut for safety.

If you look closely in to the mass of grasses and nettles there are a surprising amount of wildflowers in each patch.

For the second year I went to a particular patch just off a busy dual carriageway where I know both Pyramidal and a single bee orchid grow.

Bee orchids, although the flower mimics a bee and in some species of orchid this is to attract bees, this bee orchid generally self pollinates.

The Bee orchid can grow 15cm to 50cm tall, with usually 6 flowers. Bee orchids sometimes only flower once in their lifetime. They can take as long as five to eight years before they reach a flowering stage.

They can be found on dry, open, grassy slopes but also frequently on industrial waste ground, road verges, quarries and gravel pits.

Pyramidal orchids can also be found on road verges, quarries, gravel pits as well as coastal grassland. They grow up to 25cm high.

It is only the young flowers that has the pyramidal shape. Once they open fully they will become oval or egg-shaped. They start flowering March to April but are mostly seen through June and July.

Grass verges need to be cut in order prevent vigorous grasses taking over everything. Cutting in late July will allow wild flowers the opportunity to flower and set seed.

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Pyramidal orchid
Anacamptis pyramidalis

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Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera

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About Alex White - Appletonwild

This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. My passion is for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I am a keen amateur photographer using a Canon SX60 HS. All the photographs on this blog are taken by myself unless stated otherwise. I am a member of A Focus on Nature, the network for Young Nature Conservationists, BBOWT, The Oxon Mammal group and The Oxfordshire badger Group. You can also follow me on Twitter @Appletonwild Instagram appletonwild
This entry was posted in 30 Days Wild, Blogging, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Uk nature, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Day 10 of 30 Days Wild – Grass verges and Orchids

  1. David Stimpson says:

    Hi Alex nice pictures

    Liked by 1 person

  2. suzanne says:

    We counted over 400 bee orchids last year on a local industrial estate. My partner works for the records centre of the wildlife trust, so has produced a map of the estate showing the bee orchid hotspots which we have passed to the grass cutting teams. As an extra precaution we have also produced flags which we have put in ground where the bee orchids are abundant. Seems to be doing the trick so far!

    Liked by 1 person

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