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Plants in the Wild: Orchids of South Yorkshire

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Started by: Mel Linney

Go to latest contribution by ian mcdonald, 09 November 2015, 12:46. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Mel Linney 12 July 2010, 08:15top / bottom of page

The Leaves on this plant are heavily spotted.

Just noticed that the picture of the spotted leaves is the start of page two but they belong to the Orchid at the bottom of page one. Apologies for any confusion.

in most cases I have put a close up after picture of the whole plant to aid identification. Elaine and I are as certain as two novices can be that there are the three species mentioned above and the last set of pictures each have slight variations which may suggest hybribridisation.

Contribution from Mel Linney 12 July 2010, 08:44top / bottom of page

This concludes our Orchid hunt around South Yorkshire for the time being.The experience has been very enjoyable and we have discovered some wonderful plants, some of which grace the benches at A.G.S. shows. So please avail yourself of the wonders that are around us, you never know what may be on your own doorstep.

Contribution from ian mcdonald 04 December 2013, 22:51top / bottom of page
more orchids

Hello Mel, there are more species of orchid in the doncaster area. Fly orchid, greater butterfly orchid, early purple orchid, fragrant orchid, green flowered helleborine, broad leaved helleborine, green winged orchid, burnt tip orchid, birds nest orchid, etc. doncaster council destroyed one of south yorkshires best limestone grassland sites when they turned Levitt Hagg quarry into a rubbish dump. This removed more than 100 species of wild flower including orchids and gentians.

Contribution from Mel Linney 06 December 2013, 20:04top / bottom of page

Hello Ian,  no doubt the newly formed South Yorkshire Botany Group will be searching out the Orchids you have mentioned. I have sent a copy of your post to the group. Mel.

Contribution from ian mcdonald 06 December 2013, 20:34top / bottom of page
orchids in the wild

Hello again Mel, I see that you say you have discovered some wonderful plants, some of which grace the bench at some of the shows. I hope this does not mean they have been removed from the wild? ian.

Contribution from Mel Linney 08 December 2013, 09:27top / bottom of page

Hello Ian,  I don't know whether you are teasing but I, along with other AGS members would not dig up or otherwise remove wild plants from their habitat. Apart from it being unethical it is mostly illegal!

Contribution from ian mcdonald 08 December 2013, 11:40top / bottom of page
orchids in the wild

Hello Mel, it must be the way I am reading your post of July 12th. 08.44.

Contribution from ian mcdonald 18 February 2014, 15:10top / bottom of page

Mel, you may be interested in the south yorkshire natural history festival at Treeton on Saturday. Details on their site.

Contribution from ian mcdonald 10 June 2014, 10:44top / bottom of page

There are now many southern marsh orchids in flower onn a south yorks. NNR.

Contribution from Mel Linney 10 June 2014, 19:45top / bottom of page

Elaine and I were in the Don Gorge at Sprotborough on Sunday where we found Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted Orchid,D praetermissa (Southern Marsh Orchid), Anacamptis pyramidalis (pyramidal Orchid), Listeria ovata (Common Twayblade), Ophrys apifera (Bee Orchid) and last years flower spikes of Neottia nidus-avis (Birdsnest Orchid) but the find of the day was eight very nice spikes of Plantanthera chlorantha (Greater Butterfly Orchid) see picture. After a succesful mornings botanising and a lovely meal at the Boat Inn we called into Gypsy Marsh, one of our local nature reserves in Wombwell, where we found hundreds of Marsh Orchids and hybrids in flower. To end a perfect day we went to check out how the Bee Orchids were fairing at the Old Moor Nature Reserve roundabout on Manvers Way to find over one hundred flowering plants, truly wonderful and many thanks to Rotherham Council for not mowing the verges in that area.

Contribution from John Good 10 June 2014, 21:48top / bottom of page

Mel, yourcontributions over the past four years have been very interesting and beautifully illustrated, I know from experience that these orchids are not easy to photograph well - keep it coming!

Contribution from ian mcdonald 23 October 2014, 10:38top / bottom of page
Epipactis in S. Yorks.

Hello Mel, during a botanical survey in S. Yorks an Epipactis was found. Thinking at first glance it was the more common E. helleborine I thought no more about it, although the leaves seemed un-typical. The following year the plant was in flower, the first year it was in seed, it was visited by another botanist who is studying the group. After careful examination it was pronounced as E. dunensis. A first record for the site. Careful examination of E. helleborine may reveal other plants of E. dunensis.

Contribution from Mel Linney 28 October 2014, 20:04top / bottom of page

Hello Ian,

        Nice to hear that you have found Epipactis dunensis in South Yorkshire. Have you sent details to the relevant BSBI VC Recorder? If it falls in VC63 Geoffrey Wilmore will be very interested, he his currently researching Red Data Plants for the County. Also the BSBI is gathering records for the 2020 Plant Atlas. If you wish I can send your details to Geoffrey.

Contribution from ian mcdonald 29 October 2014, 17:11top / bottom of page

Hello Mel, Geoffrey knows of the record. It has been published in a recent flora. I also pass unusual records to Don Grant of the YNU, ian.

Contribution from ian mcdonald 06 September 2015, 10:14top / bottom of page

Hello Mel, any interesting finds this year?

Contribution from Mel Linney 17 September 2015, 07:34top / bottom of page

Hello Ian, Elaine and I haven't been out as much this year but we have sent a piece the BSBI about the Orchids in our part of the Dearne Valley. I shall post that story as soon as the latest edition of BSBI News has been issued. In the meantime if you would like to check out what the South Yorkshire Botany Group has been up to since its cormation in 2014 go to

Contribution from ian mcdonald 18 September 2015, 14:38top / bottom of page

Thanks Mel, will do. I think you may know Louise from doncaster?

Contribution from Mel Linney 28 October 2015, 07:56top / bottom of page

Travelling along Manvers Way in the Dearne Valley on the border of Barnsley to Rotherham my Wife Elaine and I saw the notice in the attached picture on the roundabout to RSPB Old Moor Nature Reserve. The Dactylorhiza species and hybrids have been growing in the verges along this stretch of road for a number of years but it wasn't until someone found Bee Orchids at the Bus Stop about three years ago that  Pete Wall of the Dearne Valley Improvement Area approached Rotherham MBC and as partners in the NIA they agreed not to cut the verges in that area until the Autumn. This year on our annual visit to see how things are going on we found that not only are the Marsh and Spotted Orchids thriving  but we counted over One Hundred Spikes of Bee Orchids, and probably more, from the Broomhill roundabout to the Roundabout after Old Moor, no doubt helped by the slip stream of traffic along this busy road. Also we now have a thriving colony of Lathyrus nissolia (Grass vetchling) in that area. Thanks must go to Matthew Capper Manager of RSPB Old Moor, Pete Wall of NIA and Rotherham MBC for their combined efforts in maintaining and improving this particularly rich area of the Dearne Valley. On our way to a field meeting we saw a similar notice on the A1 Roundabout at Marr which is in Doncaster MBC who are also NIA partners. No doubt the other two councils in South Yorkshire are encouraging our natural heritage in this once heavily industrialised part of Yorkshire. 


Contribution from Margaret Young 28 October 2015, 19:54top / bottom of page

It is very  pleasing to see such success from the restriction on verge cutting that seems to be being introduced in quite a few places - shows how much can be achieved by  steady pressure from lobbying of  special interest groups and  the public by various petitions.


Contribution from Mel Linney 01 November 2015, 08:11top / bottom of page

Margaret, Although the verges along this stretch of road just get a cut in the autumn and it has been like that for several years for some reason the council received over three hundred complaints about "the state of the verges" so decided to put these notices up. The Orchids have had plenty of coverage in the local press over the years as well as social media and this was featured on regional TV. The only conclusion I can draw from the welter of complaints are incomers from the new housing development further along Manvers Way who are not yet aware of what is happening in the area.

Contribution from Margaret Young 01 November 2015, 19:06top / bottom of page

We've had similar complaints in some areas around Aberdeen - even in some of the public parks where there have been "wild" areas established. Tough to get the message out to all.

Contribution from ian mcdonald 09 November 2015, 12:46top / bottom of page

Mel, don,t tell DMBC where there are interesting plants. They will probably destroy them as they did at Levit Hagg and Brodsworth Colliery, also Castle Hills.

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