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Beautiful British orchids: is climate change affecting them?

Join Dr Mark Spencer as he uncovers some of the striking wild orchids you could spot in the British countryside.

He explains why it is important to understand how climate change is affecting British wildlife and how the Orchid Observers project aims to help.

Scientists know that climate change already impacts at least one UK orchid. The early spider-orchid, Ophrys sphegodes, now flowers several days earlier, on average, than it did at the beginning of the 1900s.

Museum researchers want to find out whether the same is true for other British orchid species, and how different species are responding to changes in temperature and rainfall across the UK.

We hope you enjoyed this article…

... or that it helped you learn something new. Now we're wondering if you can help us.  

Every year, more people are reading our articles to learn about the challenges facing the natural world. Our future depends on nature, but we are not doing enough to protect our life support system.  

British wildlife is under threat. The animals and plants that make our island unique are facing a fight to survive. Hedgehog habitats are disappearing, porpoises are choking on plastic and ancient woodlands are being paved over. 

But if we don't look after nature, nature can't look after us. We must act on scientific evidence, we must act together, and we must act now.

Despite the mounting pressures, hope is not lost. Museum scientists are working hard to understand and fight against the threats facing British wildlife. 

For many, the Museum is a place that inspires learning, gives purpose and provides hope. People tell us they 'still get shivers walking through the front door', and thank us for inspiring the next generation of scientists.

To reverse the damage we've done and protect the future, we need the knowledge that comes from scientific discovery. Understanding and protecting life on our planet is the greatest scientific challenge of our age. And you can help.  

We are a charity and we rely on your support. No matter the size, every gift to the Museum is critical to our 300 scientists' work in understanding and protecting the natural world.  

From as little as £2, you can help us to find new ways to protect nature. Thank you.