- Steve Pollard
- Site Admin
- Posts: 144
- Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2020 11:03 pm
- Location: Chagford, Dartmoor
- Has thanked: 242 times
- Been thanked: 76 times
I manage 17 acres of my haymeadows, here on Dartmoor, specifically for Greater Butterfly Orchids, and was able to find and harvest some seed spikes before cutting the meadows last month.
Greater Butterfly Orchids are classified as Near Threatened in The Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain and their seeds are not commercially available. They are designated as the Dartmoor National Park's flagship species for dry grassland. However, they do also grow throughout much of the UK in the open swards of species-rich meadows on both neutral and calcareous soil. Despite the name, the aromatic flowers are actually pollinated by nocturnal macro moths. The plants bloom a couple of weeks later than Southern Marsh and Heath Spotted Orchids - mid-June here at about 280m - and I believe they are more suited to dry grassland and haymeadows than these two more common species, as Greater Butterfly's seem more resistant to hot weather. They do, however, seed much later - in early-October for me - so management needs to allow for that in order for numbers to increase. Like all orchids, the minute seeds require a parasitic association with mycorrhizal fungi in order to germinate, and the plants take a several of years to reaching maturity.
To my mind, orchids are among the most beautiful and aspirational of meadow flowers - to see these rare plants growing in my meadows is a source of pride and, as a farmer, the excitement of seeing them appear each year is one of the things that make the hard work in winter rain feel worthwhile. If you are interested in buying seed for yourself, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The price is £12 for one seed spike or £20 for three spikes. Each spike contains many thousands of seeds. Postage in cardboard box and VAT included.
Good wishes, Steve
p.s. this sale post was OKed by forum owner