The fact that one hectare of land harbours more than 250 native species is already a feat but the presence of at least 9 different species of the Orchid family is remarkable. This spring they were exceptionally abundant. This ´orgy´ was probably partly due to the very wet weather but I have noticed a steady increase over the years, not only in plant numbers but also in species number. For example this year I welcomed the sudden arrival of 3 plants of Cephalanthera damasonium. Members of the Orchid family are notorious for their erratic and unexpected behavior, appearing one year in abundance and then hiding for several years.
Almost all of the present orchid species seem to prefer the transition zone between wood and grassland. The fact that my terrain is rich in this kind of border niches may partly account for so many orchids. Related to this border effect is their tendency towards human culture, that is they prefer semi-natural situations where humans have a low but decisive impact on nature: mowing grass, pruning or cutting trees, moving soil.
Their relationships with other mammals is, in my experience so far, somewhat controversial. It seems that sheep for example love to eat the generally tender broad leaves of orchids and the fact that sheep don´t enter the terrain may have a positive impact. But I also notice that badgers, wild boar, weasels and/or similar wild animals which do enter the terrain, go for the bulbs or rhizomes of the orchid, digging very specifically like expert botanists. A positive side-effect might be that while digging they help to spread the extremely fine seed (and the necessary mycorrhiza).
Below are shown, in alphabetical order, the distribution maps of the other orchid species present on the terrain. For the Epipactis species I have no reliable data yet, as it´s not very clear if it´s just one species (Epipactis helleborine) or several (sub-)species, but every year there appear about a dozen of them spread over the terrain, especially on the borders of woodland and grassland.