Pyramidal Orchid

The Pyramidal Orchid is well-represented throughout both the Access Land and the area above the gate by the cattle trough. It derives its name from the conical shape of the flower head when in bud. Once in full flower it can resemble an egg which may lead to confusion.

It favours well-drained calcareous soils such as those found on sand dunes but will also thrive in other types of habitat such as dry chalk downland and limestone grasslands. They are also to be found on roadside verges, amongst scrub and even in open deciduous woodland as they are light shade tolerant. It does not mind growing amongst tall grasses such as Erect Brome Grass.

The flowering season is relatively long as the first flowers appear in June with the last ones appearing in August. The stem is up to 50 cm long and is partially encased with oblong-lanceolate grey-green upright leaves. The flower head is of a deep pink hue. Each flower is comprised of three-lobed lip and a long spur. It is pollinated by such insects as the Large Skipper butterfly, the Six-spot Burnet moth and the Buff-tailed bumblebee. Seed pods form at the base of each flower and will set in up to 95% of the capsules. It is also tuberous and perennial.

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