The 'mystery' I referred to in my last blog post was a totally unexpected and unplanned encounter with an orchid never before seen in the wild in the UK - Long-lipped Tongue Orchid, Serapias vomeracea. We found out about this amazing occurence while we were already in Kent so it was a complete no-brainer, we simply had to go for it!
Arriving at the spot (still not knowing exactly which species we were going to find) we immediately set eyes upon what is a really attractive but 'different' looking orchid - and it was in absolutely superb condition. It's location also hints at a 'natural' occurence rather than a planted one but in the murky world of orchids you can never say for sure! One theory is that seed arrived on the wheels of vehicles from France and this seems to me like the most likely explanation. The species is widespread and quite frequent in France and it's range extends to the north of the country so it may be rather overdue as a colonist or straggler to our southern counties. Originally found by a survey group last year they were announced in a BSBI bulletin earlier this year, obviously with no location details.
Due to promises made I will not be divulging the location or who my 'informant' was. My apologies.