I visited a small meadow in the South of Herefordshire, not far from home. The owner has promised me some seed later this year from his thriving group of Pyramidal orchids. There’s a meadow and orchard with lots of Dacts, a few Green winged and then he said ‘Oh would you like to come and see my Lizard orchid?’
It is a monster. I’ve seen them in the wild and they were tall, yes, maybe 70cm but rather spindly growing in very poor sandy soil. This one was over 1m tall, stocky and solid in it’s prime covered in shaggy smelly flowers. It smelt rather musty and unpleasant but not strongly of goat, as they sometimes do.
I am assured that it is a genuine UK native Himantoglossum hircinum and why is it there? It is a garden escape from the garden nextdoor which years ago belonged to an enthusiast who was a founder member of the Hardy Orchid Society.
Herefordshire is full of surprises.