Orchids of The Hebrides
Here in The Western Isles, we are so fortunate to see the lovely orchids displaying sometimes en mass, just interwoven in the machairs.
7 Orchid Types
There are around seven different species of Orchids that can be seen, some of which can readily be seen throughout the spring and summer months and others which are seen only rarely.
Heath Spotted Orchids
The heath spotted orchid is specific to the western isles. The heath orchid is similar to the hebridean spotted orchid, its quite difficult to tell them apart.
The heath orchid flowers March to August & does have a slight scent and is often a very pale pinky colour almost mauve or a light purple colour.....
Hebridean Spotted Orchids
These pretty orchids are a sub species of the Spotted Orchids which are found elsewhere in the UK and are only to be found here in The Western Isles.
This pretty wild flower the hebridean spotted orchid just grows wild usually on machair's or dunes or damp meadows that are near to the sea. ...
Root Capable of Sprouting New Plants
Orchids all have either a root capable of sprouting a new plant (tuberous stock) or the base of the stem is swollen into a bulb-like growth.
Folklore - The Greeks
The ancient Greeks gave this flowers family its name. The word orkhis means testicle. They’re named this because of the shape of their bulbous roots. In classical mythology, Orchis, the son of a satyr and a nymph, was turned into a flower after his death.
In his Materia Medica, the first century A.D. Greek physician Dioscorides hypothesized that orchids influenced sexuality. Ever since, people have associated the plant with virility, fertility, sex determination, and other aspects of reproduction, inspired perhaps by the exotic appearance, fragrance, and frankly erotic aspect of its flower’s sexual parts.
Sex Their Unborn Babies
It was said that in Ancient Greece, parents believed they could control the sex of their unborn children with orchid roots. If the father ate large, new tubers, the child would be male; if the mother ate small tubers, the child would be female
The Chinese and Orchids
The ancient Chinese were one of the first people to use orchids as medicine, and some of the earliest paintings of orchids can be found on the oldest of Chinese vases.
Vanilla Flavouring From Orchids
Today, one of our most popular flavourings Vanilla is derived from the seed pods of orchids.
Costa Rica - Orchid - National Flower.
The orchid the "Guaria Morada" is the Nation flower of Costa Rica. This orchid species gets nutrients from the air, rain, dust and resides stored around the bases of trees. The flower is associated with the beauty of Costa Rican ladies and this orchid is said to bring unions, family understanding, peace and love and hope for the future.
Largest Orchid in The World - 20 metres tall
The largest orchid in the world can grow up to 20 metres tall. It is called Grammatophyllum speciosum and can weigh up to 2000pound / 900 kilograms. It can produce up to 10,000 flowers on a mature plant.The species is found in Malaysia, the Solomon Islands, Sumatra, the Philippines, Papua and New Guinea.
No Blue Coloured Orchid
Orchids come in many different colours, including green and even black.The one colour you’ll never see an orchid in is blue.
New Orchid Species
New species of orchids are still being discovered each year. In fact, between 200 and 300 new types are found annually.
Early Marsh Orchid
This lovely orchid - the early marsh orchid seen in the western isles is sometimes called the 'meadow orchid' is really beautiful.
The Early Marsh-Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata) is very variable in the colour of the flowers, but the shape of the lip is very distinctive and unique to the species....
Lesser Butterfly Orchids
Although in decline and a little rare than some of the other orchids, the Lesser Butterfly orchids can be seen here in The Western Isles.
These orchids show their heads occasionally in The Isle of Harris. The stems reach up to 10 inches in height although the one pictured above was actually only about 6 inches high......
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|