Friday, 19 June 2015

#30daysWild day 19: Musk Orchids

Musk Orchids are small, green orchids that are nationally scarce and are found in only a few places in Bucks and Berks. One of those places is Pulpit Hill (which is just up the road) but, despite looking for them last year, I've never managed to see them before. They're tiny and grow on short grassland on chalk and are very difficult to see as they blend into the grass and plants growing around them.

I met an orchid enthusiast up at Pulpit Hill yesterday, over by a bank of Fragrant Orchids. We chatted for a while and he mentioned that he'd seen the Musk Orchids. I begged for a bit of info about where they were and he pointed me in vaguely the right direction and wished me luck as they're so tricky to find!

Up for the challenge, my Mum and I headed off to try and find them this morning. It took quite a lot of searching, then Mum spotted the first one. I have to say I was shocked by how small it was, but what a find!
Our first Musk Orchid, just starting to flower

With an index finger behind it you can get
an idea of how small it was
Once we'd found one we knew what to look for and I soon found a second one that had flowers that were further out.
Our second Musk Orchid
Now we were on a roll, but we hunted for what seemed like ages without finding any more. Just about to give up, Mum looked again and found a patch with at least twenty orchids in it. Many were still in bud, but there were enough flowering to be sure that they were Musk Orchids.

There are at least 7 Musk Orchids hiding in this photo - shows how hard they
are to spot!

We'll keep an eye on them as many were still in bud. Just hope they don't get trodden on as they are so easy to miss!


  1. Wow! I am starting to wonder if you should rename yourself to Orchid Mad Girl from now on lol How much was your orchids worth? Cost me £36 to see my fen orchids today. Money well spent lol Which would you prefer, walking in boggy mud to see fen orchids or spending a lot of searching for musk orchids? lol Which is the prettiest of the two do you think?

  2. What! £36 !! Mine cost me some thistles in my knees!
    Hate to say it, but I think your Fen Orchids are prettier/more orchidy. The musk orchids were minute (the big ones were about 4cm tall). Hoping they may get a bit bigger over the next week or two as more flowers open. Still thrilled to find them!
    I'm really enjoying the orchids, but they'll be over all too soon. Then I'll have to more onto fungi ...