Friday 24 May
Summer lady's-tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis)
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Summer lady's-tresses fact file
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Summer lady's-tresses description
- Height: 12-30 cm (2)
Summer lady's-tresses biology
The flowers, which are produced between mid-July and mid-August, are said to produce scent during the evening; it is believed that they are pollinated by moths, although this has not been proven (5).Top
Summer lady's-tresses range
This orchid was first discovered in 1840, and has always been rare in Britain, only ever having been recorded from two small areas in the New Forest (5). 200 plants were found at one site in 1900, but the population had fallen to just 20 by the start of the 1930s (5). It is thought to have become extinct by 1959 (6), and no records have been made since (5). It occurs in western, southern and central Europe, reaching east to Turkey and Russia, and is also found in North Africa (2).Top
Summer lady's-tresses habitatTop
Summer lady's-tresses statusTop
Summer lady's-tresses threats
Drainage of the wet, boggy habitats favoured by this orchid is likely to have played a part in its decline. Plants were also dug up for private collections, and this certainly reduced the British population (5).Top
Summer lady's-tresses conservation
The listing of this orchid under the Species and Habitats Directive means that sites supporting this species can be protected. English Nature has included summer lady's-tresses in its Species Recovery Programme; should this orchid be rediscovered in Britain, conservation action will get underway.Top
Find out more
For more on English Nature's Species Recovery Programme see:
Information authenticated by Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity:
- National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2002) http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
- Williams, J. G., Williams, A. E. and Arlott, N. (1978) A field guide to the orchids of Britain and Europe with north Africa and the Middle East. Collins, London.
- English Nature. Species Recovery Programme. (September 2002): http://www.english-nature.org.uk/science/srp/srp2.htm
- JNCC (September 2002): http://www.jncc.gov.uk/species/pstatus/p6_3.htm
- Lang, D. (1980) Orchids of Britain. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Byfield, A. (2003) Plantlife. Pers. comm.
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