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Exhibiting Malta’s 37 species of wild orchids

Exhibiting Malta’s 37 species of wild orchids

Did you know that 37 species of wild orchids embellish Malta’s countryside for half the year? Though it’s a fact unknown to most locally, the orchids are being highlighted by internationally-acclaimed and award-winning nature photographer Johan Siggesson, in his new coffee table book entitled Marvellous Malta – Where Wild Orchids Grow.

Artistic photography created during one orchid season, between 2020 and 2021, shapes Siggesson’s book, which he claims is the first of its kind on the Maltese Islands.

“Most Maltese environmental news are of a negative character and rightly so, but I wanted to create something positive that highlights the somewhat limited but wonderful Maltese nature. We need to know what actually exist and what we can experience if we take the time to look,” said Siggesson.

The book is an aesthetic journey through the intimate landscape of Malta where we can find these wild orchids growing right under our noses.

Who is Johan Siggesson?

Siggesson normally conducts his work in Africa, Asia, Scandinavia and other part of the world. However, the on-going COVID-19 pandemic stranded him and forced him to focus on local nature with his photography. Despite living in Malta for 20 years, Siggesson has never really worked locally but is planning to change all that with his first book, in a series of books revolving around Maltese nature.

“There are plenty of informative books about Maltese trees, insects, flowers etc, but I never came across a coffee table book that is more geared towards being beautiful than being informative. We find many similar books about Mdina and Valletta, but not about Maltese nature,” he continued.

37 species of orchids in Malta

The long-awaited orchid season starts a few weeks after the first heavy rain in September or October. Following a long, scorching hot summer, the life-giving rain makes way for the first orchids of the season. During the following months, all the way up until May, different species will emerge in various locations around the islands. With almost 40 species in total, there’s always a new one to look out for.

At the time of writing, it is generally accepted that there are 37 species of orchids in Malta and with minimal effort, you are likely to find about one third of them. The rest are extremely rare or possibly even extinct. Unlike most orchids around he world, all the species in Malta are grown on the ground.