Since 2010, I have made it my long term project to find and photograph as many native orchids in Bosnia and Herzegovina as possible. I started this project as an ambitious 18 year old with a compact camera. I have come a long way since then, and these days I use a DSLR camera (Canon EOS 5d with a macro lens) along with a tripod and remote trigger to take all my photographs. In addition, I have began to record information such as the number of individual plants in a certain location, altitude of the location and other data. This year I have also began to take soil samples. This should all hopefully reveal more information about these intriguing plants and why they thrive in some areas and not others.
Unfortunately, the flora, fauna and natural wonders of this Balkan country are largely ignored by both those who live there and the wider scientific community. A corrupt government at home with little interest in ecological matters has resulted in a situation where little money is pumped into field research and the maintenance of nature reserves (a lot of the staff at these reserves are not even getting paid!), while the international community has taken little interest in the country’s ecology. This may be partly because the B&H government cares little for tourism advertising, and there is a big problem with obtaining reliable information from good tourist guides (especially in more rural areas).
Current estimates are that there are more than 3500 plant species in B & H, with around 10% being endemic. As well as orchids, many rare herbs are reported to grow there, as well as a multitude of fungi along with populations of brown bears, wolves, wild boar, wildcats and lynx. My aim is to bring this incredible diversity to the attention of the international community in the hope that it will one day get the recognition and protection which it truly deserves. While my focus has been on the native orchids, I hope to eventually expand to include other rare plants in the area (especially herbs) and possibly some fungi too.
Below you will find photographs and information about all the orchids which I have discovered and recorded so far. I suspect that I’m not even half way through, so this list should should hopefully continue to grow bigger with every field trip there!