Nature Studies

Nature Studies: The Madagascar orchid and the extraordinary moth that

Yesterday at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, I saw a flower which has recently gone on show and which is doubly notable, firstly for its beauty, and secondly, for the story that goes with it. It is a wild orchid, a spectacular six-pointed white star from Madagascar, and in its display case in Kew’s Princess of Wales Conservatory, the label gives no information about it whatsoever, other than its scientific name: Angraecum sesquipedale.

Nature Studies: Animals are also victims of war - and in Congo, that

For ages, it was just a myth; soon, it may be just a memory. The okapi, the "forest giraffe" from the Congo - that gentle, fascinating beast known to Western science only since 1901 - is now threatened with extinction. War, illegal hunting and habitat destruction are going to do for it.

The winged rainbow that shakes you with its sheer beauty

Occasionally the natural world can trigger feelings in us that are so intense they are hard to explain. These are not everyday sentiments, and you might not experience them on your ordinary country walk – although then again you might, as I imagine Wordsworth saw his daffodils, and Shelley heard his skylark, in the course of what were probably, in other aspects, ordinary days.