Contributions to Orchid Research   

The membership of the Hardy Orchid Society includes several scientists with academic interest in studying the biology of our temperate orchids. One of the most prominent is our President, Professor Richard Bateman, who is an internationally respected authority on orchid biology with an impressive porfolio of refereed publications. His pioneering work on orchid taxonomy embraces both morphometrics and modern DNA-based analyses. Members of HOS have opportunities to contribute to field studies of our orchid flora, sometimes with the possibility of interacting with professional scientists and contributing to their research. In addition, the general pool of expertise, both amateur and professional, within the membership has much to contribute to the cultivation of hardy orchids with implications for conservation. This area is covered in more detail on our cultivation pages. Our journal often carries papers with original observations and members are encouraged to publish their interesting findings. Some further examples can be viewed in the following .pdf files from JHOS

One successful example of HOS members contributing to orchid research concerns a study of spur length in the closely related Greater Butterfly-orchid (Platanthera chlorantha) and Lesser Butterfly-orchid (Platanthera bifolia). Member contributions are acknowledged both in JHOS papers and the mainstream science literature. Some .pdf files of relevant JHOS papers can be viewed via the following links.

Richard Bateman & Roy Sexton (2007) Survey Of The Spurs Of European Butterfly Orchids.
JHOS 4: 60-63

Richard Bateman & Roy Sexton (2008) Ongoing Platanthera Spur-length Survey, A Great Success.
JHOS 5: 20-23

Richard Bateman (2009) HOS Platanthera Spur-length Suvey Concludes: Correlation Between Spur Length And Leaf Width Is Weak.
JHOS 6: 136-140

Richard Bateman's work on Platanthera species includes a widely reported study in the Azores
CLICK HERE to read more


Another research initiative that is ongoing concerns the efficiency of pollination and fruit set in the Early-purple Orchid. Click here for a separate information page about this. It is derivative of an article about the impact of deer browse and insect pollination in Orchis mascula:

Mike Gasson (2013) Pollination in the Early-purple Orchid.
JHOS 10: 60-66


Mike Clark names and describes the discovery of an orchid taxon that had been recorded only once before in the UK.

Mike Clark (2012) Discovery of Dactylorhiza praetermissa × Gymnadenia densiflora.
JHOS 9: 34-35

Paul Harcourt Davies, an internationally recognised orchid expert, author and photographer, uses his field observations to inform discussion of taxonomy and variation in Ophrys.

Paul Harcourt Davies (2012) What's In A Face.
JHOS 9: 51-58

By monitoring the status of many important orchid sites HOS members can flag up problems that arise. The loss of orchids due to browse is a widespread issue, especially following the increase in deer numbers. These papers highlight one such problem in what was once one of the largest and most diverse colonies of Lady Orchids in Kent. With the support of the landowner, HOS members Mike Gasson, Alfred Gay and Alan Blackman have an ongoing investigation of browse at this site.

David Johnson (2012 )Herbivore Pressure on Orchid Populations – Nippers Re-visited.
JHOS 9: 14-15
Mike Gasson (2012) Lost Ladies – Does It Matter?
JHOS 9: 15-17

Alfred Gay (2013) Further Notes on Orchis purpurea Herbivory and Conservation.
JHOS 10: 12-13