Mysterious and beautiful, orchids are amongst the most fascinating group of flowering plants. Worldwide they are represented by almost 28,000 different species. The Burren plays host to an astonishing 27 of the 31 different species of native wild Irish orchids. Many of these species also occur in the Aran Islands. In general orchids prefer chalk-rich soils and therefore the limestone of the Burren and the Aran Islands provide the perfect habitat
From the early flowering Early purple Orchid through to the late Summer when Autumn Lady’s tresses can be found, there is a continuous display of flowering orchids throughout the Burren. 27 different beacons of delight, wonder and awe for those who are lucky enough to come upon them.
As a botanist I have always been captivated by the beauty and intriguing nature of wild orchids. Since my first sighting of a wild Bee orchid over 30 years ago that feeling of delight whenever I discover one has remained.
Through this survey work I hope to establish the current distribution, abundance and conservation status of the wild orchids of the Burren and the Aran Islands. In so doing highlight the important role these special wild flowers play in terms of their biodiversity and the need for their conservation for the delight of future generations.