Rare orchid Irish lady's-tresses spotted at Ceredigion nature reserve

The orchid Image copyright Natural Resources Wales
Image caption The rare orchid was spotted at the end of July

A rare orchid called Irish lady's-tresses has appeared on a Welsh nature reserve.

A small colony of the creamy white flowers were found on Cors Fochno, a peat bog between Borth and the Dyfi estuary in Ceredigion.

The discovery was made at the end of July by a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) staff member.

Mike Bailey of NRW said it was an "astonishing find".

"Wild orchids are well known for long-distance dispersal and unpredictable flowering, they have a short flowering period from mid July to August, and flowering doesn't occur every year," he said.

"Although widespread in north America, in Europe the orchid is confined to a small number of sites in north-west Scotland and Ireland."

Based on genetic studies, experts believe the species may have colonised Ireland from seeds blown across the Atlantic, so wind-blown seeds may account for the orchid appearing in Ceredigion.

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