A book for naturalists, biologists, gardeners and all those who have an interest in this fascinating and attractive group of wild Irish plants and wish to improve their identification skills in the field. The first part of the book includes an introduction to Irish orchids and covers their morphology, the structure of the orchid flower, vegetative parts, the habitats of the species in Ireland and their conservation.
An overview of the classification and content of the Irish orchid flora is included, together with keys to the Irish genera and species which make it particularly useful for identifying plants in the field.
Comprehensive accounts of all species, subspecies and varieties follow, with their key identification features described, particular attention being paid to providing clear guidelines to the identification of the difficult genera of the Helleborines, Dactylorchids and the subspecies of the Fragrant orchid. All accounts include comparisons with similar species, their flowering periods, salient observations, habitat preferences, current status and distribution maps. A full checklist of all orchids found in Ireland is presented and a section on hybrids provides guidance on the identification of these difficult plants. The book ends with a comprehensive bibliography and glossary.
The book is copiously illustrated throughout with stunning photographs of all the Irish species and their habitats, which are complemented by colour and half-tone illustrations of the flowers and morphological features of Irish orchids.