Orchids are the superstars of the wild flower world. This summer, search for the masters of mimicry cleverly fooling their pollinators or sample the perfume of a fragrant orchid.
Find orchids near you
You can see orchids across North Wales, flowering between April and September, hitting peak flowering season from May. Tempting as it may be, don’t pick the flowers. Orchids look their best out in the wild, and some species are legally protected so you could be breaking the law.
Our tip picks are Cors Goch, Anglesey and Minera Quarry near Wrexham; renowned for their wide range of orchids such as pyramidal, early purple and common spotted-orchids, common twayblade and marsh helleborine. For sheer numbers, however, it's hard to beat the greater butterfly-orchids at Caeau Tan y Bwlch, south of Caernarfon.
What to look for
The key to finding orchids is to do your research beforehand: target the right habitats at the right times of year. There are many sources of information: get in touch if you need some help.
On limestone grasslands look for the dense pink flower spikes of pyramidal orchids and the taller, cylindrical spikes of fragrant orchid, which smell sweetly, especially in the evenings. Be very careful where you tread: as well as the obvious flower spikes there will be plenty of non-flowering leaf rosettes which you should avoid trampling.
If you can't get to these places
Of the fifty or so species native to the UK, some are surprisingly common and widespread, while others are sought after rarities found only in a few select places. The key to finding orchids is to do your research beforehand: target the right habitats at the right times of year.
More wildlife experiences
From seeing colourful wildflowers to spotting magnificent birds of prey, we can help you get closer to wildlife across North Wales.