Britain’s hybrid orchids – it’s a family affair
In writing the Orchid Summer, Jon Dunn has travelled across Britain researching our native orchid species. In doing so, he saw first hand the vast range of hybrid orchid species, and in this article discusses the history of hybrid orchids, their mystery and importance, as well as raising key questions in regard to their conservation.
Compared with continental Europe, Britain has an impoverished orchid flora, with a mere 51 native species – a small proportion of the upwards of several hundred boasted across Europe as a whole. That said, orchid taxonomy, turbulent waters at the best of times, is currently in a state of particular flux: recent genetic analysis suggests that there may, in fact, be merely dozens rather than hundreds of species found in Europe.