Greater Tongue Orchid (Serapias lingua) new to the UK! 29 June 2017

A small colony of Greater Tongue Orchids (Serapias lingua), a Mediterranean species was very recently discovered in Essex and this morning I was lucky enough to be able to see them.
Having been initially found by J Pickering doing a survey, photos appeared briefly on the internet but were quickly taken down. The plot thickened! Cue a huge amount of detective work by 'Mr Orchid' Sean Cole culminating in two visits to Essex from his home in Worcestershire. Upon his 2nd visit armed with a little more detail from an eagle-eyed Mike Waller who had miraculously found them the day before and with myself, James Lowen, Dave Andrews and Will Soar we were able to locate them without too much trouble. Sadly they had mostly gone over but of the 80 flowering spikes 4 still had single reasonable flowers on top. As well as the 80 flowering spikes there were also 20-30 less well developed plants. As they spread vegetatively it suggests this small colony has been at this location for a few years.
We'll never truly know their true origin but the number, location and habitat could well point towards a natural occurence. Apparantly there are no known orchid growers within a large radius of the site so who knows!
In the same area 7 Bee Orchids were also seen.

Update - that evening Jon Dunn, orchid guru managed to successfully 'twitch' them from his home in Shetland (fair play!) and Jus also caught up with them. By the following morning they had all gone over leaving us all looking forward to June 2018!

Greater Tongue Orchids 
 Orchid nutcases! Photo copyright James Lowen.

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