Green-winged orchids are very scarce in Ireland and when a friend told me he had found a site where they were in flower there was an immediate dash to see them. Three of us had a wonderful evening viewing these beautiful plants – along with the Early Purple Orchids and Cowslips which grew in their company.
There were historic records of them flowering at this site but none had been for many, many years so it was a wonderful discovery to find them in flower there again. They are very particular as to where they will thrive. This site matched the conditions we have witnessed elsewhere – a site of unimproved grassland on thin soil above limestone with regular limestone outcrops. All that is required for grassland to be “unimproved” is that it be left alone, without the interference of man through the application of fertilizer or weedkiller.
You can imagine the upset and disappointment of my friend, an enthusiast for our native orchids, native wildflowers, insects, bees, butterflies etc etc, a true lover, carer and defender of all aspects of our native fauna and flora, to return to the site a week later and find it had been sprayed with weedkiller – as evidenced by the cowslips which were in a state of collapse.
Something of such value can be lost so very easily.