Samphire Spider Orchid 121/10
121/10 Kerry Goodwin
When the channel tunnel was excavated, thousands of tons of chalk spoil were dumped near Samphire Hoe, Dover. The spider orchid has now successfully colonised this ground. Interestingly, the flowers give off the scent of a small type of female bee called an andrena. The male bees land on the flower and think they are mating with a female bee but are in fact just an agent of pollination! Samphire Spider is rich in colour with velvety reddish-brown labellums and eye-catching mustard-yellow striped sepals, which move like earnest spiders across a golden, chalk-coloured ground. It is a design which will woo a collector for the truth of its beauty alone. In 1998, there were 67 recorded spider orchids at Samphire Hoe. 2012 saw over 11,500 recorded spider orchids. It seems the disturbed ground exposed long-buried seed and enabled these natural wonders of colour to flourish. Unsurprisingly, people travel hundreds of miles to see them, but designer, Kerry Goodwin, has enabled their beauty to be admired in all seasons.