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Bloomin heck! Experts waited 70 years for this rare orchid to bloom, but was it worth it?

Last modified on 27/12/2012 at 4:11:00 PM. Total 909 views.

It may not look impressive to the average person, but this is one of the rarest plants in Britain, and until today, had not been seen for 70 years.

Despite its underwhelming appearance, horticulturalists marvelled at today's blossoming of the unique Red Helleborine flower.

The orchid was discovered in the 1940s but nearly became extinct in recent years. 30 of the flowers bloomed today at a secret woodland location where experts 'intensively' manage the plants by cutting down trees and improving the surrounding soil.


Marvel: The rare Red Helleborine flower blossomed for the first time in 70 years at a secret woodland location

It has such difficulty blooming because the bees that pollinate it are not native to the UK.

National Trust ranger Tim Jenkins admitted he was baffled by how the flower manage to bloom.

'We don't fully understand how the plant reproduces here as the bee that usually pollinates it in Europe is not found in the UK,' he said.

'We have tried manually pollinating the orchid and even taking cuttings but we've not yet had any luck with it.

'Each year I get a real buzz when I come here to see how many plants have come up and I look forward to how many flowers we're going to get.'
Joy: Despite the underwhelming appearance, ranger Tim Jenkins was delighted at the flower's blossoming


Joy: Despite the underwhelming appearance, ranger Tim Jenkins was delighted at the flower's blossoming

The plant - Latin name Cephalanthera Rubra - was first discovered in extremely small numbers at a secret Gloucestershire woodland in the 1940s.

It was threatened with extinction when numbers dropped to just three of the plants despite the best efforts of experts who kept new generations alive in the hope that one would bloom.

Rangers will only be able to admire the sight for a short time as the flowers typically open for just 10 days before they fade and fall off.


30 of the rare orchids flowered today, but despite the wait, they look less than impressive to the average person

(from dailymail.co.uk)

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