Orchid rediscovered on Saaremaa after 120 years

A species of orchid has been rediscovered on Saaremaa for the first time in over 100 years. The island is known to be home to more than 30 types of orchid.

Last Sunday, it was known 35 types of orchid grow in Estonia but as of Monday that number has increased to 36. As many as 34 species can be found blooming on the country's largest island.

This week the breeding ground of the yellow and purple Leeder-sõrmkäpp (Dactylorhiza sambucina) orchid was rediscovered after 120 years and it was found that several hundred plants were growing in the same area, ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Monday.

Orchid researcher Rainer Kurbel said it is difficult to put the importance of the find into words.

"It's like the realization of a fairytale because this species has not been found on Saaremaa for 120 years. It was the only one found in Saaremaa and also in the whole of the Baltics. I think this species has been the most coveted orchid you could find," Kurbel told AK.

"Now, looking at the environment and the history of the place, it seems that perhaps it has even been here the whole time. It was simply not known in the past, the previous site was near Austla," he said.

Orchid researcher Toomas Hirse told AK they will try and protect the site. "We will try to protect it and to leave it alone so that it can survive. The open landscape around here is in good condition and it's nice to see it." 

Until now, Estonian researchers have to travel to the Åland islands, between Finland and Sweden, to see them bloom. By June, the flower's blooming season in Estonia has already ended. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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