Lady Orchid Orchis purpurea

Status Red - Endangered & Critically Endangered
Best Time to See April, May, June
Colour Purple
Habitat Woodland, Grassland

The Lady Orchid is a tall, elegant herbaceous plant belonging to the Orchidaceae plant family.

It can reach 30–100 centimetres with the fleshy, bright green leaves being up to 15 cm long. The leaves are broad and oblong, forming a rosette about the base of the plant and surrounding the flower spike. These flower spikes can contain up to 200 individual flowers to which the stem upwardly points. Some of the flowers have the look of women in crinoline ball gowns. In terms of colour they are usually pale pink or rose, with a deeper purple 'head'.


The Lady Orchid can be found in most parts of Europe (specifically Kent, England), Northern Africa, Turkey and the Caucasus.


Lady orchids usually grow in woodlands, oak forests, slopes and meadows, and can occasionally occur on savanna. They prefer to grow in limestone or chalk soil, in shady or sunny places. The Lady Orchid occurs in short grassland, on woodland edges and sometimes in open woodland. However, it is now very rarely found in the UK.

Best time to see:

Flowering occurs in late April to June.


It is classified as endangered.

Did you know?

The sepals amd upper petals are known to be purple, hence the Lady Orchid adopting the latin name purpurea.