Skip to content

Who Knew Orchids Grew In Scotland?

June 15, 2017

It has been another year of not planting too much in my garden. Small children just don’t make getting out there very easy, despite my best intentions.

Anyhoo… That does not mean that my garden isn’t full of life, as I’ve planted a few things, and I have let the wildflowers take root as well because I love to see what pops up!

So, last month I noticed something very unusual and spotted growing in my Dahlia pot. It had weirdly thick leaves, unlike any wild flowers I’d ever seen, so I thought that I must have planted something else in there and then promptly forgot about it. (Would not be the first time)

I allowed this mystery plant to develop and grow along side my dahlias to see what sort of flowers it would produce, so that I could finally identify it, and then one day it shot up this weird fluffy-tipped stem that resembled slightly a stalk of wheat and wasn’t at all what I was expecting, so I turned to google and keyword searched “spotty leaf wild flower Scotland” … I know… It was a HIGHLY sophisticated search, but it worked and took me directly to photos of orchids. Orchids indigenous to Scotland!

It turns out I have a common spotted orchid! Who knew, right? It’s blooming now and I’ve taken some photos. (scroll down) 

I’ve always associated orchids with warm climates or the stunning ornamental ones that get sold in stores, (which tend to die immediately after flowering) so this was a pretty big surprise for me but also sort of exhilarating because I’m a nature nerd.

I’ve since discovered that there are several different types of orchids that grow wild throughout the UK and actually… orchids pretty much grow everywhere if you know where to look for them! (I’ve learned a LOT about orchids in the past week)

When I was a little girl, growing up in Rhode Island my grandmother used to take me out hunting for pink lady’s slippers, which are a type of orchid that is found in New England.

I thought that pink lady’s slippers were a protected plant but it turns out they actually aren’t and it’s just a thing that people say (and have perpetuated for generations) to stop them getting picked. So I guess that I’m not an accessory to a criminal act after all.

Try as I might, I could never figure out what she saw in them to be honest. The ones that she was after looked sort of like the worlds saddest veiny scrotum with a bow on the top… There is no nice way to say it. Pink lady slippers are really not the most attractive flower. I guess that thinking of it as a delicate, if oddly bulbous slipper is a nicer interpretation… but let’s face it… orchids often resemble genitals.

Orchids in the UK are protected, though some more than others. I guess it’s just as well I didn’t go ahead ripping this one out when it disturbed my dahlias!

I’ll continue adding photos of them as the plant develops.


The blooms are TINY, no larger than a 5p each (or a dime)

When my common spotted orchids go to seed (2 stems), I will probably attempt to harvest them, but growing a new plant from seed appears to be pretty complicated and involves symbiotic fungus… Having said that, my half-assed attempts at growing random things in my garden usually work out pretty well so long as I let nature take its course, so it’s worth a shot! At any rate, I figure the essential fungus must be present enough for this plant to have taken root by chance.

common spotted orchid leaves

The spotted leaves are where the common spotted orchid gets its name.




And here they are taking over my poor dahlias









From → Garden, Scotland

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: