Identify Your Orchid

If you have seen an orchid in Indre, Indre et Loire or Vienne and you would like to identify it, take several photographs of the plant (try to get a close up of the flower, the whole flower spike, and the leaves). Under no circumstances pick the flower. Many species are legally protected so the rule is 'take only photographs'.

What month did you see the orchid? If it was flowering in January, February, November or December, then it is most unlikely to be an orchid. You can see orchid leaf rosettes like the ones in the picture below quite easily in these months though. These are Ophrys spp and Lizard Orchid leaf rosettes photographed in February, growing through a patch of Wild Thyme on the nature strip near the library in Preuilly. Don't confuse orchid leaf rosettes with those of Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata.

The smaller orchids, early in the season, can be very difficult to spot when they are just leaf rosettes. There are at least 5 Ophrys spp leaf rosettes in the photo above, taken in our vegetable garden. Can you spot them?

Just in case you couldn't see them, here they are marked by red ovals.

Use the following series of photographs to get an idea of what your orchid might be, based on when you saw it and the colour. This is just a selection of the most likely orchids you might see. Many of these can be easily seen on rural roadsides. A complete list of all the orchids you can see in les 3 d├ępartements (Indre, Indre et Loire and Vienne) can be seen here.

Orchids can be confused with Broomrapes Orobanche spp by beginners, but it won't take you long to learn the difference.

Link to an article in Days on the Claise on how to distinguish between Early Purple and Green-winged Orchids.

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