Early Purple Orchids Orchis mascula flowering in snow.
They are usually in flower to the end of April, but there are now 4 or 5 plants that I have identified that almost always flower 2 weeks ahead of all of the others in the 3 patches and 500+ plants that grow in the woodland and when I checked on them (with the knowledge of the forecast of snow and the 'yeh right' of disbelief at the front of my mind, it was +15C at this point) I was surprised to see these early flowers showing colour in their flower stems already. Most of the other orchids are not even showing flower stalks, let alone flower spikes with colour...
So when my husband woke me that morning, to say that it was snowing and the local trunk road was already closed, I decided to see how the orchids were.
Ref: img 5669
Location: Elstead, Surrey, England
Photographer: Emma Taylor