Bird's-nest Orchid

Name: Bird's-nest Orchid

Scientific name: Neottia nidus-avis

Category: Flowers

Nature Stars: 80

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The Bird's-nest orchid is a very strange plant. It is leafless, and instead of taking nutrients from sunlight to make its food for growth, it instead lives as a parasite on the roots of trees, feeding from its host. Usually found in woodland, particularly under Beech trees, this almost sickly looking, yellow plant flowers above ground from May to July but lives the rest of the year living below.


How to identify: The Bird's-nest Orchid is a brownish-yellow flower spike with small, hooded flowers clustered together.

Where: Scattered throughout mainland UK and quite common in Northern Ireland

Fantastic fact: The Bird's-nest orchid has a 'symbiotic relationship' with a type of fungus. This means the two plants help each other survive. The fungus digests vegetation and passes some of the nutrients to the Orchid, and in return the Orchid manufactures certain complex chemicals for its partners benefit.

Photograph credit: Philip Precey

More in this category: Bee Orchid » « Creeping Buttercup