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Naturetrek Lockdown Orchid List

Hampshire is one of the best counties in Britain for orchids. Species in this prestigious family of flowering plants may be found especially amongst the broad-leaved Beech woods and along the north-facing escarpment of the South Downs National Park. During any spring (April and May), one may find upwards of 12 species! The surrounding counties also hold a plethora of orchid species and, throughout this particularly dry period, staff at Naturetrek have been diligently searching for an array of species not too far from home.

This year, the peak season for orchids within Hampshire has been dominated by two months of insufficient rainfall and unusually high temperatures. At the beginning of May, Early Purple and Green-winged Orchids had already expired, whilst specimens of Fly Orchids encountered were mainly stunted individuals – the result of limited rainfall – and Bird’s-nest Orchids were present in very low numbers at their traditional sites; this particular orchid lacking any chlorophyll pigment, therefore requiring only rainfall in which to prosper. The only site for Man Orchid within the county had only two spikes, and by the third week of May many ‘June specialists’ (Greater Butterfly Orchid especially) were already in full flower and set to endure a limited flowering period. The Common Spotted Orchid – our commonest orchid and one that can be found profusely in the county – is also set to have a dreadful season.

However poor this discrepant season may have been, orchids have still been sighted by our staff close to home, and our sightings are listed below!

  1. Green-flowered Helleborine
  2. Bog Orchid
  3. Musk Orchid
  4. Lesser Butterfly Orchid
  5. Southern Marsh-Orchid
  6. Early Marsh-Orchid
  7. Bee Orchid
  8. Fragrant Orchid
  9. Common Twayblade
  10. Greater Butterfly Orchid
  11. Man Orchid
  12. Common Spotted Orchid
  13. Pyramidal Orchid
  14. Fly Orchid
  15. Bird’s-nest Orchid
  16. White Helleborine
  17. Marsh Helleborine
  18. Broad-leaved Helleborine
  19. Sword-leaved Helleborine
  20. Green-winged Orchid
  21. Burnt Orchid
  22. Early Purple Orchid
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Greater Butterfly Orchids (Tom Ambrose)

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Bee Orchid (David Phillips)

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Common Spotted Orchids (Tom Ambrose)

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Bird's-nest Orchid (Matt Eade)

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Sword-leaved Helleborine (David Shute)


British holidays that go in search of orchids

Of course, in any normal year our Naturetrek botanists would have enjoyed showing these orchid species, and many more, to our groups on British breaks in the southern counties. So, we’ll have to wait until 2021 for this pleasure, when we will hopefully be operating them again. Tours that you may wish to consider, to enable you to see a range of orchids during their peak flowering periods, include:

Flora and Butterflies of East Sussex

A four-day exploration of the beautiful Sussex Downs in search of a variety of b...

4 days £495 land only

Orchids and other Wildlife of the Chilterns

A 3-day tour to discover the orchids, birds and other wildlife of the chalk and...

3 days £375 land only

Wildlife of the Hampshire Downs

A natural history weekend exploring the chalk habitats of Hampshire....

3 days £350 land only

Whether you have photographed an orchid this spring, or are planning on venturing to a site to photograph orchids, we would like to invite anyone to send in their sightings for use on our social media, or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..