The flower is normally only found in the South of Europe, in typically much warmer climates
This is the first time that this species of Orchid has been found in The Netherlands; and several examples of Barlia robertiana were found in Wilhelimnaoord at the beginning of the month, reports RTV Drenthe.
The giant orchid is a striking flower that lives up to its name: it can grow up to a meter high. It is knwo to be a very early flowering plant: in full bloom in early April. In recent years, the giant orchid has become increasingly northerly as the climate changes and becomes warmer.
In recent years it had been found in Belgium, and now in the dunes of Drenthe. “Orchids have very fine seeds,” says Hans Dekker, a nature photographer from Drenthe, “that can blow over enormous distances with the wind and end up nearly anywhere. The circumstances then determine whether that seed grows into a plant or not.”
The examples found in Drenthe are still quite small. “It has bloomed for the first time this year, so it can continue to grow in the coming years. And it is likely to have been here for a few years, because it takes a while for such a plant to bloom. But whether it will remain here remains to be seen. In Southern Europe they can have a bit of frost, but if it freezes very hard then he can die. ”
Interestingly, Drenthe is known for its boreal plants: species that grow mainly much further North in Europe, and that can survive in Drenthe due to it being (on average) a bit colder and wetter in the province. Examples include Swedish dogwood, the seven star and the crow heather.
Researchers at the University of Wageningen previously calculated that 40 percent of the plant species in The Netherlands could disappear due to global heating, with new species from Southern Europe taking their place. The trend is especially prominent in cities, where it is just a little warmer on average than in the countryside.
Image via Wikimedia user Franck TOMI. License free.