Autumn Lady’s Tresses: an orchid species new to Ulster

On the thirteenth of August, I was at Killard National Nature Reserve, Co. Down, with my mum. We were looking for Frog Orchids and other species rare in the county like Quaking Grass and Field Scabious. She found a plant she didn’t recognise and asked me what it was, and it was Autumn Lady’s Tresses. I knew I hadn’t seen it before and wasn’t sure it had been recorded anywhere near before. I looked at the BSBI map and the Plant Atlas and realised it was new to the county and in fact Ulster (including NI). Quite an exciting find! It was especially unusual as it was at a very well-recorded site, famously a disjunct spot for another orchid, Green-Winged Orchid.

The BSBI put out a press release, which was picked up by BBC News and Mark Avery. I was quite surprised by the attention but it is admittedly quite a nice find! My mum Judith has found it quite funny that she has made one of the best botanical records this year in Ireland, despite not considering herself a botanist.

Update 15/12/23: The British Ecological Society magazine The Niche also picked up on the story in their Winter 2023 issue:





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