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IN THE NEWS, August 25, 2017
A Rare Find
The National Botanic Gardens are pleased to announce a significant find in Ireland's botanical world. The green flowered helleborine (Epipactis phyllanthes) is a rare Irish orchid confined to little more than a dozen sites on the island. Its rarity and variability makes for much debate among botanists and orchid lovers alike.
A new population, studied since it was first observed in 2015 by John (Jackie) O'Connell, is located on private property in Co. Kildare. Jackie is an enthusiastic naturalist and photographer and is well known for his wildflower meadow, which abounded with orchids, on the church grounds when he was Parish Priest in Caragh Co. Kildare.
A further alert from the adjoining property led to what may be the largest population of green flowered helleborine ever recorded in Ireland or Britain. There were an estimated 500 flowering spikes in 2017. The find, the first county record for the species in Co. Kildare, has been meticulously recorded by David and Frances Farrell.
A more detailed account of the study by staff at the Gardens in conjunction with the property owners and Jackie will appear in botanical news over the coming months.