- Birds Nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis)

- Has a short to medium stem , having no leaves but bracts , honey coloured stems , like the flowers , it has a sickly scent sepals and petals small , lip unspurred , 2 lobed.lower petal of flower c 12 mm long. . Flowered spike may have up to 100 densely-packed flowers which, like the stems , are golden brown turning darker with age. May to July. It is so called because its tangle of short roots resembles a badly made bird's nest. Plant c 20-40 cm tall,

Biology

Unlike other flowering plants the Bird's-nest Orchid does not have green leaves or chlorophyll to collect energy from sunlight. Living entirely below ground beneath Beech trees it is 'saprophytic', acquiring energy from dead vegetation. The partnership (symbiosis) is both clever and complex involving a fungus which can digest vegetation and passes some of the nutrients to the Orchid, by reciprocating Orchid manufactures certain complex chemicals thereby creating a mutual relationship.Since it prefers high pH soils, it can be found on some limestone barrens

Habitat

A species of dark dense Beech Canopy amongst the leaf litter