Rare flower spotted at New College Pontefract

New College Pontefract has continued to embrace ecological diversity with its “no mow” policy for parts of the site, a policy which has led to an exciting discovery. Nestled amongst the grasses, daisies and poppies, an eagle-eyed member of staff has spotted an example of the bee orchid (Ophrys apifera), a flower rarely seen in northern parts of Britain. 

“I was genuinely very excited to see it,” said Phil Bowness, who leads NCP’s ecology enrichment group. “It is such a beautiful flower. Using college’s site to provide space for wild flowers like this is incredibly important in preserving our planet’s ecological diversity.” 

Bee orchids are protected under Section 13 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). As they are particularly slow growing and may only flower once in their lifetime, it is important to never pick them. Staff interested in viewing the orchid are encouraged not to explore the wild-flower meadow on their own, but to contact Phil for a guided tour. 

“It’s important not to walk on this space as so many of these flowers are really fragile. But celebrating their beauty helps us to better understand the natural world, its diversity and its importance to the future of life on our planet.”

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