Orchid Festival Starts in Far Saaremaa ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: ERR

The country's first orchid festival has started on the island of Saaremaa.

The island is home to 33 of Estonia's 36 species. The festival is actually based on the smaller island of Vilsandi - a national park - on the far side of Saaremaa.

All week long until June 30, guided boat tours, hikes and cultural activities will be offered. There is no general entry fee, but visitors can expect to pay anywhere between 3 and 18 euros for individual events.

"There is no one right time for orchids to bloom, but many of them, over ten species, are certainly in flower right now. So the season is from May to late August," said Maie Meius, an aficionado who is attending.

Tarmo Pikner, who has 20 years of research experience in the field, said that orchids have been on the environmental protection list since 1983, but the biggest enemies to the flowers are wild pigs.

"If the stem is broken so the bulb is still in the ground it will probably grow again, as it has reserves. But if a boar comes and scoops it out it will eat the bulb. This is a problem especially on Saaremaa."

Yesterday, participants in one tour found 13 species of orchids, ETV reported.