LATEST NEWS & PROJECT UPDATES

Ghost Orchid Season 2017 ends!

3rd November 2017

The Ghost Orchid Project Season for 2017 has now officially ended! A huge thanks to all of our volunteers during the course of the year who gave up hours of their time to search our British woodlands - we couldn't have done it without you! Whilst sadly yet again no Ghost Orchids were found in either Herefordshire or Oxfordshire, we remain optimistic that this specialised species is still out there just waiting for the right flowering conditions - and an eagle eyed volunteer in the right place at the right time to find it! 

2017 saw us step up the number of searches in the Herefordshire location (the site of the last known flowering British Ghost Orchid in 2009) and it is our hope to continue this approach once more in the 2018 season.

With several of our volunteers off to European climes come the spring of next year we will hopefully have some additional reports of European Epipogium sites to bolster our knowledge of this species' tolerance and specialised requirements. 

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to search and send in a report - here's to a Ghost Orchid flowering in 2018!

Ghost Orchid Project Season Report - 2016 

26th July 2017

The Ghost Orchid Project Season Report for 2016 has now been distributed to all volunteers and is up on our social media accounts. Unfortunately, no Ghost Orchids were located during the 2016 season, but we had a fantastic response from our volunteers who put in hours and hours of hard work during the summer and autumn months in an effort to strike it lucky! 

 

With 39 individual reports sent in from June through to October, all the main Chilterns and Herefordshire sites were searched to provide us with an insight as to the quality of the locations and which seem the most promising for the 2017 season.

Less indicator species were found at the sites this year round, which was a touch worrying, although the abundance and diversity of fungi (including the Ghost Orchid's host fungal species Inocybe) was extremely promising, especially as Inocybes were found in the most suitable spots for Ghost Orchids at one of our main Chilterns sites. 

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to search and send in a report - we couldn't have done it without you!

To download a copy of the 2016 Season Report, just click below:

 

 

 

 

 

DOWNLOAD

 

Orchid Season 2017 begins!

17th May 2017

The orchid season for 2017 has finally begun! With species such as Early Purple, Green-winged and Early-spider having been flowering for a number of weeks now, other specialities will soon be coming in to their own. Both Military and Monkey Orchids will be bursting into flower down in the Chilterns over the next week or so, while Sword-leaved and White Helleborines will be carpeting the woodland floors over in Herefordshire.

While one exceptionally keen volunteer has already started her Ghost Orchid searches for the season, despite the early date, Ghost Orchids are not unknown to flower at this time of year, with the earliest known flowering record being the 27th May in 1926. Rather surprisingly, despite the usual association with late July, August and September flowering, Ghost Orchids were recorded in the spring months on several occasions in the 1920's and 30's, with two plants recorded in Henley-on-Thames in June 1923, along with a further two found in late May the following year. The Stoke Row plant found by Vera Paul was also recorded in late June in 1931. With this in mind, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to cast an eye over the Chilterns and Herefordshire woodland floors during a spring visit - you never know what you might find!

Ghost Orchid Project Season Report - 2015

The Ghost Orchid Project Season Report for 2015 has now been distributed to all volunteers. As you will have noticed, no Ghost Orchids were located during the 2015 season, but we had another great response from our volunteers who put in hours and hours of hard work during the summer and autumn to try and strike gold. 

 

With 28 active volunteers and 34 individual reports sent in throughout the July, August and September months, 8 sites in total were searched which has given us a great idea as to the quality of the locations and which seem the most promising for the current season. 

With the soil a lot moister this year and with an excellent spring earlier in the year for Bird's-nest Orchids (an indicator species of Ghost Orchids) fingers crossed that this is the year!

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to search and send in a report - we couldn't have done it without you!

Ghost Orchid Project Season Report - 2015

To download a copy of the 2015 Season Report, just click below:

 

 

 

 

 

DOWNLOAD

 

The Ghost Orchid 2016 season has begun!

5th July 2016

The 2016 Ghost Orchid search season has well and truly started and we have already had our first report in from an especially keen volunteer! Having had a particularly wet spring this year fingers crossed the conditions will be ideal to promote Ghost Orchid growth - only time and careful searching will tell! All of our existing sites in the Chilterns and Herefordshire will be searched again during 2016, and we are also looking to branch out in to searching other suitable locations nearby - we currently have several volunteers placed at Warburg Nature Reserve in Oxfordshire which offers an ideal habitat for Ghost Orchids. If you would like to get involved with the project this year then please do get in touch!

E-mail info@ghostorchidproject.co.uk for more details.

Ghost Orchid Project Season Report - 2014

9th June 2015

The Ghost Orchid Project Season Report for 2014 has now been distributed to all volunteers. As you will have realised, unfortunately no Ghost Orchids were discovered during 2014, but we had a fantastic collective effort from all our volunteers who put in numerous hours throughout July, August and September. With 26 new volunteers signing up to the project in 2014, this enabled 7 sites in total to be searched on a regular basis throughout the prime season, and has given us a good indication of the richness of the sites and which locations seem the most promising for the coming season. A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to search and send in a report - we couldn't have done it without you!

Ghost Orchid Project Season Report - 2014

To download a copy of the 2014 Season Report, just click below:

 

 

 

 

 

DOWNLOAD

 

Ghost Orchid pollination behaviour captured on video

13th January 2015

The Ghost Orchid Project has been sent this fantastic video showing pollination behaviour involving a Ghost Orchid in the wild. Created by Jean Claessens, it shows the typical behaviour of a fly whilst inspecting the flowers of a Ghost Orchid (Bumblebees - the true pollinators - also display identical behaviour) and provides a clear idea of the visiting behaviour of flies. The flies themselves are too small to act as pollinators, but their way of entering the flower is exactly the same as that of a Bumblebee and they show great interest in the calli on the lip and in probing the spur for nectar. Pollination of Ghost Orchids is an extremely rare event in most parts of Europe, and the orchid rarely sets seed.  

Jean Claessens and Jacques Kleynen studied E. aphyllum in Switzerland for two years and their stunning photographs and findings feature in their remarkable book "The flower of the European orchid - Form and function". Packed full of information on a range of European species, the book can be purchased from the authors on their website which can be found here

The Ghost Orchid Project at the BSBI

13th January 2015

The Ghost Orchid Project was lucky to be invited to the recent BSBI Annual Exhibition back on the 22nd November and the team held an exhibit displaying the wonders of the Ghost Orchid and providing information on the project’s aims and achievements to date.

Held in the beautiful University of Leicester buildings, the exhibition was open to anyone interested in the flora of Britain and Ireland and included a variety of fascinating talks on a number of topics. A whole range of tables were available to browse through, covering a number of interests and displaying such wonders as plant identification, information on various Botanical Societies and activities from all over the UK plus several Natural History book stalls selling hundreds of sought after treasures.

 

With lots of interest shown in the stand the event was a huge success, with a number of individuals adding to our database of information regarding previous sightings in the UK and relaying their wealth of knowledge and stories of the species.

A tour of the University of Leicester’s magnificent herbarium was also kindly provided and offered a rare and fascinating chance to see real-life British specimens that had been found and collected by Rex Graham from the Chilterns back in 1953. As can be seen from the comparison with the Italian collected specimens on the left, our UK individuals are positively tiny, highlighting the extreme difficulty of locating any present on our woodland floors.

 

The event was a great success and huge congratulations are in order for the hard work of the BSBI in organising and delivering such a fantastic day. The Ghost Orchid Project will again be looking to host a stall for 2015, and we are already looking forward to hopefully seeing some of our keen volunteers there!

For more information on the BSBI and what they do, then take a look at their website here