Man orchid Orchis anthropophora

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

Some orchids resemble bees and spiders. The man orchid, however, is more anthropomorphic.

When in bloom it produces a dense pack of yellow-green flowers of a vaguely humanoid shape (see photo, right - larger version here), giving the impression that numerous man-shaped beings are dangling from its stem.

Man orchids can grow to about a foot in height. They are largely confined to the south-east of England but are much more common on the continent.

Distribution

Scattered locations in the south-east of England.

Habitat

Grasslands and scrub, particularly on alkaline soils produced by chalk and limestone. Man orchid favours moderately sunny meadows on well-drained, usually calcareous soil.

Best time to see

When it flowers, between April and June.

Did you know?

The man orchid is related to the also aptly named monkey orchid (whose flower resembles a monkey's face). The two have been known to hybridise producing what is known as the "Missing Link" orchid!