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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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
Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophorum) Early April to late June.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Lowland calcareous grassland.

Size: Height 15-65 cm (6-26 in).

Flowering Period: Early April to late June.

Named after the man-figure shape of the flowers.

These orchids can flower for 14 years but most live for less and do not flower every year.

The scent is faint and unpleasant.

Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophorum) © jacinta lluch valero cc
Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera) Early April to late July.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Woodland and lowland calcareous grassland.

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

Flowering Period: Early April to late July.

Named after the wonderfully accurate fly shape of the flowers.

The shape and texture of the flower and the emission of pheromones attract male digger wasps (and A.fargeii) which try to mate with the flower causing pollination.

Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera) © Björn S... cc
Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) Early April to late July.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Woodland and hedgerows.

Size: Height 20-40 cm (7.9-34 in).

Flowering Period: Early April to late July.

This is a non-photosynthetic orchid that grows as a parasite on the roots of trees, often beech trees, getting its nutrients by digesting living fungi.

The orchid has some chlorophyll but no effective photosynthesis takes place.

Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) © Björn S... cc
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
Early Spider Orchid (Ophrys sphegodes) Early March to late June.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Grassland, coastal, meadows and lowland calcareous grassland.

Size: Height 5-45 cm (2-18 in).

Pollinator: Male solitary bee of species Andrena nigroaenea.

Scent: Similar to female-produced sex pheromone of the solitary bee Andrena nigroaenea.

Flowering Period: Early March to late June.

Early Spider Orchid (Ophrys sphegodes) © Jacinta Iluch Valero cc
Green-winged Orchid (Anacamptis morio) Early April to late June.
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Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Grassland, heathland, meadows, gardens and parks, sand dunes and lowland calcareous grassland.

Size: Height 5-50 cm (2-20 in).

Pollinator: Bees especially bumblebees.

Flowering Period: Early April to late June.

Named after the green veined pair of lateral sepals which appear like wings.

Pollinated by by deceit (bright colours) as it produces no nectar.

Green-winged Orchid (Anacamptis morio) © Björn S... 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
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