"An essential guide for anyone interested in wild orchids, this beautifully-illustrated authoritative guidebook encapsulates the experience of 16 years of conscientious on-location searching, study and research in Wales."
ISBN: 978-0-9934502-1-1; 192 pages, full colour, Hardback binding. RRP £20.00 + P&P
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'This is an excellent guide to the orchids of Wales in a convenient portable A5 format... It has a comprehensive section covering all of the recorded orchid species, illustrated with photographs of the highest quality. ...it is the attention given to where orchids grow and where to find them that makes this book especially useful... The book is clearly produced by someone with a deep and detailed knowledge of the area and its conservation. Highly recommended for anyone living in or visiting Wales who has an interest in orchids or indeed more general natural history.'
Mike Gasson, in Journal of the Hardy Orchid Society... January 2017.
'The First Nature team has come up with yet another gem. For anyone interested in orchids, their habitats and where to find them in Wales, this is a must read!' Iolo Williams
(Original review in Dutch) 'This is a beautifully produced book about the wild orchids in Wales... It will be more a help, when back home or in the hotel, to give a name at the orchid flowers seen or photographed in nature. For those who know little or nothing about orchids, this book is an interesting and useful acquaintance. For people more experienced with orchids this book will certainly be a good first aid in the identification of an orchid species observed in flower.' Rik Neirynck. Read the full review (bilingual Dutch/English) here...
Wales with its rich botanical heritage and centuries-old traditions of plant hunting (Snowdonia was a favourite haunt of Charles Darwin) is still one of the most orchid-rich parts of Britain, with 32 species and several distinctive subspecies. This in part is due to Wales's very varied range of habitats, but another major factor is the priority that Wales has given to safeguarding its wildlife and wildflowers. Nowhere in Europe has such an abundance of nature reserves and other sites with protected status for their national and international conservation value.
Wild Orchids of Wales is much more than a fully illustrated identification guide; it is also a celebration of the Nature Reserves of Wales. The author has dedicated this book to '...the individuals and groups of volunteers without whose tireless efforts in all winds and weathers the environmental riches of Wales, from small community sites to great nature reserves, would not be so accessible and bring such joy to so many people.'
For newcomers in particular, wild orchids can be hard to find and even harder to identify. Wild Orchids of Wales solves these problems. The book includes easy-to-follow introductions to the biology and habitats of orchids; illustrated descriptions of the orchid species, each with distinguishing features highlighted; and a unique guide to more than 50 of the top orchid sites throughout the country, including GPS data, map references and detailed directions. Also included are tips for photographing flowers. More than 300 colour photographs of wild orchids, both in their natural settings and as stunning close-up pictures of their flowers, ensure that readers will be able to identify the orchids they find on countryside rambles.
Latest News: A very rare orchid, Irish Lady's-tresses Spiranthes romanzoffiana, was found in Wales for the very first time in July 2019, after this book was published. Sue Parker has therefore produced a two-page addendum, to be included with copies of the book from January 2020, and it is available as a PDF format free download here...
Sue Parker is a naturalist whose fascination with orchids stems from her childhood in the Far East. The colourful wildflowers growing over her garden fence in Singapore were the kind of exotic orchids that many people in Europe now have in pots on windowsills.
The search for wild orchids has taken Sue to many countries; but, as she says, there is a very special satisfaction in finding and identifying beautiful orchids close to home - and for the past 15 years Sue's home in south Ceredigion has been a base for studying the wonderful wildflowers of Wales and, in particular, its wild orchids.
Writing and occasionally broadcasting on wildlife and countryside topics, Sue is also the author or co-author of 12 books and several dozen articles. In 2014 her book Wild Orchids of the Algarve, how when and where to find them, was published to critical acclaim and is now among the bestselling nature books in Portugal. This new book follows the same proven format, with illustrated guides to the wild orchids found in Wales together with detailed information about top orchid sites and walks, the best times to visit and which orchid species are likely to be seen at each one.
An active conservationist and newspaper columnist, Sue produced and continues to maintain the website www.waleswildlife.com which receives some 60,000 visits a year. Many of the hundreds of enquiries received through the website come via the extensive Wild Orchids section.