Spent another day scouring the slope with Gerry today, and rather laboriously mapping new orchids. Most were hybrids in close proximity to the existing hybrids but further up slope. We’re pretty close to finishing the main part of the mapping, with just a handful of plants still to be looked for but we do expect the numbers to grow slightly as we find new plants during this month.
Anyway, the sudden expansion in hybrid orchid numbers prompted me to do a quick analysis of the performance of each species over the last few years. As you can see, the Monkey orchid numbers are going up nicely but the big story is the growth in the hybrid population. This need not be permanent and it’s hard to say how many hybrids will survive and if they will spread further in the coming years – but we will be watching the situation closely! 🙂
|Lady orchid (Orchis purpurea)
|hybrid (O. purpurea x simia)||23||29||72||130*|
|Monkey orchid (O. simia)||383||360||398||410*|
(* provisional numbers – count still in progress – updated 10th May)
The statistics are always a little difficult to maintain because we can only be sure of a plant’s identification (especially Lady & hybrid plants) when it flowers, but often it will have been counted for at least the previous year as a vegetative plant. For instance, the hybrids first flowered in 2006 but they existed in 2005’s records as presumed Lady orchids – in a similar way to last year’s 40 new Lady orchids, which have subsequently turned out to be hybrids. Even the Lady orchids themselves, which flowered first in 1999, were listed in 1998’s statistics as unusually large Monkey orchids.
I have resisted going back and correcting figures but this year the quantity of hybrids has become more statistically significant and so I have tried my best to adjust them retrospectively to give a truer illustration of how the populations have grown.