Elegant and colourful, orchids can fascinate and the study and search for them can be addictive. They are found in a great variety of habitats in Ireland and can be enjoyed in fields, bogs, woods and mountains. Amongst the loveliest of our wild plants, these endangered species are protected by legislation. Some are distinctive and cannot be confused, while others are more challenging as they hybridise freely and so confound both amateur and expert, while variability in size and colour is also considerable. This practical guide is intended to assist in identifying them. It contains expert illustrations, photographs of each plant in situ and in close-up, clear instructions for identification, and notes on size, habitats, flowering period, distribution and variations. Colour distribution maps show where each species is found. Introduced by chapters on conservation, hybridisation, how to use the guide and orchid morphology, this is a guide for all orchid enthusiasts, whether beginner or expert.
Susan Sex, a self-taught painter, is one of Ireland's foremost botanical artists, whose work is much widely acclaimed. Susan was awarded a silver and three gold medals for her work by the Royal Horticultural Society and the Jill Smythies Award from the Linnean Society. She designed the definitive series of An Post's 'the wild flowers of Ireland' postage stamps. Brendan Sayers has spent most of his career at the National Botanic Gardens, where he oversees the Glasshouse collections and specialises in orchids. In 2011 he received the H.H. Bloomer Medal from the Linnean Society of London for raising the profile of Irish orchids.