Guidelines to the Identification of Welsh Orchids


Dr. Roy Bailey-Wood

About the Author

I have had a life-long interest in orchids, commencing in my teenage years, when I found my first orchid, the Heath-spotted, on the mountains overlooking the Rhondda Valley, where I lived. Finding this beautiful little flower in such a harsh environment was a revelation and undoubtedly started my interest in Welsh orchid populations. This has continued to grow throughout my life and has developed into a detailed knowledge of our native Welsh orchids. I have also added British orchids to my interest, as well as wild orchids growing in other parts of Europe.

My interest in orchids found outside Europe has found me growing a large number of cool-growing Masdevallia orchids in my greenhouse. Over 500 species of this genus have now been discovered and I find their variety, despite their similar basic form, quite amazing.

Following on from these interests, I regularly give talks on various aspects of the subject of orchids, and I am on the panel of lecturers for the British Orchid Society.  I also have a keen interest in digital photography which fits in well with my lecturing commitments.


Scope of Article

This article is intended to be an up-to-date assessment of the orchids currently found in Wales. The descriptions of the species included allow for the identification of the species in the Welsh context and are intended to be used in conjunction with the photographs.

Criteria employed


English name:               As used currently by BSBI                  

Scientific name:           This is taken from current classification based on DNA analysis    largely after Bateman). In some instances this will differ from that used by BSBI (The Botanical Society of the British Isles)

Welsh name:                 Taken from current authoritative literature

June – August:             Flowering dates for Welsh populations

Identification:              Typical sizes in Wales, not including extremes. Descriptions come with two images so only points which help in identification have been included. If necessary, further help can be obtained from any of the many larger texts available.

Similar species:           Relates to Welsh species only.

Habitat:                         Habitats where the species is found in Wales.

Distribution:                This is based on a combination of data from BSBI distribution maps and the author’s own data. Specific locations have deliberately not been included.

Conservation issues: Relates to Wales only

Notes:                           Points of Interest

Images:                         All images are of specimens found at sites in Wales and have been taken by the author.