All illustrations by Christina Hart Davis
Burnt orchid Orchis ustulata (above)
Short: up to 20cm. Flowers maroon, then pale pink as they open. Local on short chalk and limestone grassland.
Common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii
Flowers deep pink to white, with varying spots and streaks; leaves spotted. Many open habitats.
Heath spotted orchid Dactylorhiza maculata
Flowers variable, but often paler pink than common spotted orchid; leaves spotted. Damp, acid or neutral soils.
Southern marsh orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa
Up to 70cm tall, with rich pink-purple flowers; leaves plain. Local in south in marshes and damp grassland.
Lesser butterfly orchid Platanthera bifolia
Green-white flowers with long spurs. Local in north and west on upland heaths and unimproved grassland.
Lizard orchid Himantoglossum hircinum
Flowers have a ‘lizard’ tail and goaty smell. Rare, mostly in south, on chalk and limestone grassland and dunes.
Lesser twayblade orchid Listera cordata
Small; often hidden by heather. Red-brown flowers; single pair of leaves. Local on wet, mossy heaths and bogs.
Man orchid Orchis anthropophora
Human-like flower has lobed yellow or red lips. Local on short grassland and downs, mostly in south-east England.
Fly orchid Ophrys insectifera
Unmistakable. Local, mainly in south. Scrubby grassland and woods on limy soils; also in chalkpits and quarries.
Bee orchid Ophrys apifera
Unmistakable. Short turf in limestone areas; also quarries and verges. Rare or absent in north and west.