Being helped to discover a Common Twayblade orchid

I joined Bernard Baverstock, chairman of the Camberley Natural History Society, and allround knowledeable guy on flora and fauna, on a morning walk over the local heathland. The aim of the walk was so that he could point out to me the Common Twayblade orchids that I’d signally missed seeing in the dozens of my orchid spotting walks.

Here’s what Surrey Wildlife Trust say about it, in which they note it’s easily overlooked. By gum, that’s true.

The Common twayblade is a medium-sized orchid that can be easily overlooked despite being one of our commonest species. Common in the woodlands, scrub and grasslands of chalky soils, its flower spike carries a very loose cluster of yellow-green flowers that are not as showy as some of the other, more exotic-looking orchids. It is in bloom from May to July.

Here are photos of Bernard pointing out the Common Twayblade orchid, and a closer view of the plant. Thank you Bernard, I’m a happy soul now.

Naturally, I followed Bernard’s advice on spotting wild orchids: UPDATED

UPDATE: Do read Bernard’s comment. He says my photo is not a Twayblade. Oh dear, I’m going take him up on his offer of a guided walk.

Yesterday, for my daily constitutional walk, I followed Bernard Baverstock’s advice and went looking for a wild orchid variety that I’ve not previously recognised. I’ve already said how I feel humbled when expert advice points out something that I’ve missed, especially as I’ve been studying the local wild orchids for months, and months.

On my way to search for the Common twayblade – Neottia ovata,  I encountered a cyclist on a very narrow path through the heather. Part of today’s social distancing fun, we offered each other priority of travel. It was easier for me to step off the path into the heather. We got into conversation, as one does, with Mark – that’s his name, saying that he reads this blog. Much enjoyable chat followed. It’s always an odd experience to meet one of my readers.

Anyway, I found the Common twayblades, at least I think I did. Didn’t spent long studying them as a dirty big black cloud began raining on me. I’ll have to go back again to take some better photos. Here’s my, not great quality, photo.