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Rare orchid spotted in Norfolk for first time in 60 years

PUBLISHED: 11:49 23 June 2015 | UPDATED: 08:53 24 June 2015

The rare Lizard Orchid found by Andrew Brown.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The rare Lizard Orchid found by Andrew Brown. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

The blooming of an extremely rare orchid which smells of goat – last seen here almost 60 years ago – has caused a buzz among wildlife experts in Norfolk.

The rare Lizard Orchid found by Andrew Brown. Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe rare Lizard Orchid found by Andrew Brown. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Spotted by butterfly enthusiast Andrew Brown, the lizard orchid has not been recorded in the county since 1956.

Mr Brown, of The Glade, Old Costessey, spotted the rare find, to the north of Norwich, in an isolated field. Its location is being kept private to preserve the flower, a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Sam Neal, from the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, said the orchid was so rare, he did not believe the flower had been spotted in Norfolk at first.

“We were very sceptical,” he said. “But when the picture came through we knew it was a lizard orchid. It is very exciting – the flower is unmistakable.”

Retired Mr Brown, 70, said he had discovered the plant a couple of years ago, but it was only once the orchid flowered that its rarity became known.

“You get a buzz from finding something that no one else has seen,” he said. I play bridge with a leading orchid expert and have been feeding her pictures for the last 14 months.

“She realised recently what it was. It is like no other orchid.”

It is not the first rare find spotted by Mr Brown. Last year he found 
a yellow-legged tortoiseshell butterfly.

Have you been lucky enough to see a rare flower growing naturally? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

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