New colony of rare orchids found on Islay

One of the new colony of rare Lady's Tresses orchids found on Islay.

Want to read more?

We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a  subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device.  In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.

Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).

Already a subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Conservation officer Angharad Ward has discovered a new colony of the rare and beautiful Lady’s Tresses orchids at a secret location on Islay.

Angharad is working for the Argyll Coast and Countryside Trust (ACT), a partner of The Collaborative Action for the Natura Network (CANN) project and is carrying out detailed surveys of the island’s biodiversity. These health checks make sure habitats are in tip-top form.

The survey points are randomly selected and as well as identifying the plants, measurements of the depth of the peat are made.

The Lady’s Tresses discovered at one of these random points are only the fifth site found on the island and, with 14 plants, is the largest colony surveyed.

Angharad was delighted by the find and said: ‘The exact site will remain secret to keep them safe. I was pretty chuffed with the unexpected find, made even better by how pretty they are,’ she said.

‘This beautiful small wild orchid has small creamy-white flowers coiling in three spirals up the stem. Each flower is in a dense spike and the sepals and petals are joined to form a lip of a tube.’

The CANN project, funded by the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme through the Special EU Programmes Body to the tune of €9.4 million, is working with ACT to deliver conservation targets on the island. The CANN project is match-funded by NatureScot in Scotland, DAERA in Northern Ireland and the DHLGH in Ireland.