In the past, when I heard the word orchid, I would think of the exotic tropical species to be found in places like Singapore and other Asian countries. Now I know there is an entirely different kind of orchid that is a British native and, while not as spectacular in appearance as some of the exotics, these natives are, I think, even more beautiful.
The flower spikes stand tall, like sentinels, amongst the more flippant flora of the meadows and chalk grasslands, though the individual flowers are delicate little poppets, with a surprising range of patterns and hues. This is partly because they hybridise easily which can make them difficult to identify. I think I have here examples of the Common twayblade, Early purple, Southern marsh and Common spotted orchids.