Hardy orchid at home in British gardens

A variety of orchid that can withstand the conditions of British gardens is becoming increasingly available for use in the UK, the Times reports.

The Madeiran orchid is vigorous and hardy and can be divided into separate plants after a few years growth, making it stand out from its exotic cousins.

Most orchids require lots of heat and the safety of a greenhouse, but even some struggle to grow in these conditions.

But the Madeiran, or Dactylorhiza foliosa, as it is also known, forms strong solid clumps that can be divided and used to provide some extensive colour to a gardens foliage.

Bursting in purple and magenta shades, the flowers are often found on damp and rocky slopes in woodland areas of Madeira and there are many other varieties gardeners can choose from.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Noel Kingsbury said the elata, incarnata, majalis and praetermissa varieties all appreciate more British conditions and can also work.

Orchids are often rare and found in tropical climates, it is estimated that 2,500 to 3,000 different species grow in the forests of Borneo.