Bird's-nest Orchid

Neottia nidus-avis

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  3. Bird's-nest Orchid


The Bird's-nest orchid is a very strange plant: leafless and without the green chlorophyll of other plants that enable them to gain energy from sunlight through photosynthesis, it grows as a parasite on the roots of trees, gaining its nutrients from its host. Usually found in woodland, particularly under Beech trees, this almost sickly looking, yellow plant appears from May to July.

How to identify

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

Where to find it

Scattered throughout mainland UK; locally common in the south of England and quite common in Northern Ireland.


When to find it

  • May
  • June
  • July

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for a range of wildflowers including various orchids. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention helps many flowers and plants to thrive and keeps others that are more invasive under control. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland wildlife.

Species information

Common name
Bird's-nest Orchid
Latin name
Neottia nidus-avis
Height: up to 35cm
Conservation status
Classified as Near Threatened in Britain on the Red Data List.