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Lady Orchid

Orchis purpurea

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.

Plant Data

Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
Order:
Asparagales
Family:
Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Type:
Flower
Life Cycle:
Perennial
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Habitats:
Grassland, roadsides, scrub, woodland.

Flower:
֍
Purple, 4 petals
 
The inflorescence is a flower spike of up to 50 flowers. The purplish-brown sepals and upper petals form a hood. Pale pink or white (mottled with purple spots), 3-lobed lip, approximately 1.5cm across. The middle lip is the smallest. The lip is said to look like a Lady's skirt (hence the name Lady Orchid). The lip is known as the 'skirt' and the upper part is known as the 'dress'. The petals have a very narrow purple margin. The short, slender spur is discrete as it's hidden behind the hood. The similar looking Burnt Orchid (Neotinia ustulata) has smaller flowers with most of the purple at the top of the flower spike.
Fruit:
A seed capsule. The seeds are minute and dust-like.
Leaves:
The fleshy, bright green leaves are broadly oblong and form a basal rosette. They taper to a point and are up to 15cm (6 inches) in length. The leaves do not have spots like some Orchid species have. Similar in appearance to the shorter-growing Burnt Orchid (Neotinia ustulata). Lady Orchid is one of the most common Orchids in Europe but is rare in Britain.
Aroma:
Lady Orchid is fragrant.
Other Names:
Tawny Orchid.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  
Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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