26/06/2017 Bold Moss, St Helens

Marsh Helleborine: This stunning and somewhat inconspicuous little wild orchid can be found in northern parts of the British Isles, ranging from northern England to central Scotland. Although the Marsh helleborine is uncommon in the Lancashire, it can be found in a small number of locations.

One of which is Colliers and Bold Moss NR which was created on the spoil and waste from the Bold Colliery and Power Station. The result is a brilliant local NR which has a lot of different habitats from extensive reed bed, raised peat bogs, and wetland areas.

This plants Latin species name 'palustris' means 'marsh' and refers to the habitat where it can be found, Marsh Heleborines occur on fens, in alkaline-rich marshy fields and on sand dune slacks (the valley between sand dunes).

The best time to spot it is when it is in flower; between July and September.

This plant has very attractive and brightly coloured flowers which are either brownish-purple or creamy-green. The base of the lips of the flowers are marked with dark purple-to-red veins, and the outer edges are somewhat 'frilly' in appearance.
This was a first for me, so thanks to David Greenall‏ and Ray Banks for sharing the sightings on Twitter.