Pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis

Status Green - Least concern
Best Time to See June, July
Colour Purple
Habitat Grassland

A highly distinctive wildflower with a pyramid shaped head of bright pink flowers.

The colour, however, can range from deep magenta to pure albino white. Occasionally the individual flowers in the spike occur upside down.

Pyramid orchid on road verge

The pyramidal orchid was chosen as the County Flower of the Isle of Wight, where it abounds on the islands chalk landscape. Like many orchids, it requires a specific fungus to be present in the soil in order to bloom.


A flower that prefers milder climates, pyramidal orchids can be found growing at various sites across England and Wales. It is much scarcer in Scotland.


Originally a flower of old, semi-natural chalk and limestone grasslands,including graveyards, the pyramidal orchid has shown a penchant for more artificial environments in recent times. Colonies have appeared along motorways and ring-roads, canals, marinas and even at one time at Stansted airport.

Best time to see

June and July when it flowers.

Did you know?

The scientific name Anacamptis comes from a Greek word meaning 'bend forward', while the Latin name pyramidalis refers to the pyramidal shape of the inflorescence.

The dried and ground tuber gives a fine white powder, called salep. This very nutritious sweet and starch-like substance is used in drinks, cereals and for making bread. It is also used medicinally in diets for children and convalescents.

For some inexplicable reason, it is often pronounced pyramidal orchid by many botanists.