Wildlife to Visit of the Family Orchidaceae

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta )
Bluebell woods.
Carpet of Bluebells. © Angie Muldowney cc
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta )
Bluebell woods.
Carpet of Bluebells. © Angie Muldowney cc

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There are 27 wildlife species pictured below. Some species can only be seen during certain months. Wildlife that has been observed at this time of year are shown first preceeded by a green bar. Wildlife that can be seen at a different time of year is show last preceeded by a blue bar.

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Northern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella) All year round.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Marshy fields, road verges, lake margins, fens, marshes, flushes, coastal cliffs, dune slacks, peat bogs and open woodland.

Flowering Period: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

A native British orchid that requires damp calcareous, neutral or slightly acid soils.

Northern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella) © S Rae cc
Autumn Lady's-tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) Early August to late September.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Coastal, grassland, gardens and parks, lakes and reservoirs, sand dunes, lowland calcareous grassland and rivers and streams.

Size: Height 10-15 cm (4-6 in).

Pollinator: Bumblebees.

Scent: Almonds.

Flowering Period: Early August to late September.

Autumn Lady's-tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) © Björn S... cc
Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) Early July to late September.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Woodland, grassland, gardens and parks and hedgerows.

Size: Height 25-80 centimetres (10-31 in).

Pollinator: Wasps particularly long-headed species of the genus dolicho-vespula.

Scent: Honey.

Flowering Period: Early July to late September.

Named after its broad leaves near the ground. It particularly likes to be near beech trees.

Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) © Gail Hampshire cc
Violet Helleborine (Epipactis purpurata) Early June to late September.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Woodland, gardens and parks and hedgerows.

Size: Height 20-70 centimetres (7.9-28 in).

Pollinator: Wasps.

Scent: Faint

Flowering Period: Early June to late September.

A long-lived species with some multi-stemmed plants thought to be hundreds of years old.

The nectar has a narcotic effect.

Violet Helleborine (Epipactis purpurata) © Björn S... cc
Green-flowered Helleborine (Epipactis phyllanthes) Early June to late September.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Woodland, gardens and parks, grassland, sand dunes, hedgerows and lowland calcareous grassland.

Size: Height 5-75 cm (2-30 in).

Pollinator: Self pollinated.

Flowering Period: Early June to late September.

Named after the colour of its flowers.

Green-flowered Helleborine (Epipactis phyllanthes) © Rictor Norton and David Allen cc
Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) Early July to late August.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Gardens and parks, marsh, meadows, woodland, sand dunes and hedgerows.

Size: Height 15 to 60 cm.

Flowering Period: Early July to late August.

Very variable plant height andflower colour, morphology and scent.

The flower colour varies from white to pale purple with purple spots, a symmetrical pattern of dark purple loops or dots and dashes.

Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) © MTM arr
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) Early June to late July.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Meadows, grassland and lowland calcareous grassland.

Size: Height 15-60 cm (6-23.6 in).

Flowering Period: Early June to late July.

Scent: Sweet.

Pollinated by moths and butterflies.

Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) © Public domain
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) Early June to late July.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Meadows, lowland calcareous grassland and woodland clearings and edges.

Size: Height 15-50 cm (6-20 in).

Flowering Period: Early June to late July.

This is the only species of the genus Ophrys that prefers self pollination.

Unusually they can appear in great numbers after an absence of many years.

Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) © MTM arr
Early-purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) Early April to late June.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Grasslands, meadows, woodland and hedgerows.

Size: Height 50-60 centimetres (20-24 in). Flower size 2.5 cm.

Flowering Period: Early April to late June.

Without nectar, the Early-purple Orchid attracts pollinating insects by mimicking other species.

Referred to as Adam and Eve Root in magical folklore, the tubers were used to make love potions.

Gertrude calls it long purple in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Early-purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) © gailhampshire cc
Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) Early June to late July.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Grasslands, heathlands, lowland calcareous grassland, upland calcareous grassland and limestone heath.

Size: Height 20-80 centimetres (7.9-31 in).

Pollinator: Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.

Flowering Period: Early June to late July.

Produces a sweet, orangey smell that is particularly strong in the evening.

Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) © Bjorn S cc
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