It was time for another excursion to find some local rarities. There’s a place near by with both narrow-leaved marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza traunsteineri) and hairy butterwort (Pinguicula villosa), so that’s where we headed. When we got closer to the location, we started seeing a lot of early marsh orchids. Soon the early marsh orchids started taking on some strange characteristics, like spots on the leaves. And soon after that we found individuals that couldn’t possible be early marsh orchids, so that’s when we had found our narrow-leaved marsh orchids! And pretty soon after that – a lot of them. And I do mean a lot! I have never seen orchids here in Loos in such numbers as we were witnessing now. There’s no way a picture can make justice to the scene, I tried but it was hopeless, you just simply have see it yourself to appreciate the full glory. Narrow-leaved marsh orchids and fragrant orchids were the dominant species and their purple and pink colours provided a wonderful contrast to the white and fluffy cotton deergrass (Trichophorum alpinum). The larger white blobs in the picture are broad-leaved cottongrass (Eriophorum latifolium).


We then walked around this corner of the marsh (it was a big marsh, but only part of it is botanically interesting) to see what else we could find, mostly we just came up with young bog orchids. After a well deserved coffee break, we tried to look for the hairy butterwort but had to conclude that we were out too late – all the common butterworts were way over bloom and the hairy butterwort probably shares the timing. And then when we heard the thunder, and it started raining – pouring – it was time to call it a day. We had already been out for 7 hours and enjoyed every minute of it!

A few seconds before, all of this was sunlit. A few seconds later, thunder!

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A few weeks ago when we found the early marsh orchid ssp. cruenta here, I mentioned that I had now seen all the orchids that grow in the Loos region locally. Which obviously wasn’t entirely true, because I had forgotten all about the narrow-leaved marsh orchid!

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