Long-distance dispersal and establishment by orchids

How do orchids successfully travel to and grow in far-away lands? Dave Morgan examines the biology of orchids, from the morphology of seeds to the ecological demands of the flowers themselves, to explain their remarkable dispersal abilities.

In 2014, a botanist couple looking for native Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes in Dorset found a single specimen of the Sawfly Orchid O. tenthredinifera in flower (Chalk 2014). The Sawfly Orchid is a Mediterranean species whose closest site to Britain is in northern Spain, some 850km south of Dorset. This is not the first species of Mediterranean or southern European orchid to appear on our shores in recent decades.

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