BURNT-TIP ORCHID

BURNT ORCHID

Neotinea ustulata

(Formerly: Orchis ustulata)
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

Early-Flowering form Flowers:
month8may month8jun month8june

Late-Flowering form Flowers:
month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8white
 
flower
flower8brown flower8maroon flower8purple flower8beetroot flower8red
 
inner
inner8pink
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2
 
type
typeZspiked
 
type
typeZspurred
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8heliotrope smell8custard smell8vanilla
heliotrope
rarity
rarityZscarce
 

EARLY-FLOWERING FORM

10th June 2008, Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Photo: © Paul Bishop
One of the smallest orchids of the UK, to 10cm tall for the early-flowering form shown above (slightly higher at 15cm for the late-flowering form).


10th June 2008, Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Photo: © Paul Bishop
Flower spike bears 15-50 small closely-packed flowers and is cylindrical in form with a rounded top.


9th May 2012, near Gourdon, Lot region of France Photo: © Kelly Finney
Most unmistakably distinctive when the flowers are not fully open when the tip is a burnt-looking dark maroon/brown.


28th May 2012, near Gourdon, Lot region of France Photo: © Kelly Finney
When open, the tip is also showing pinkish white colours like the rest of the flowering spike. The lower petals are white with reddish-pink/lilac spots.


17th May 2010, Lot Valley, France. Photo: © Hester Coley
Text.....................


16th May 2010, Lot Valley, France. Photo: © Hester Coley
The stems are fluted. Flower stalks (ovaries) short and stubby compared to most orchids.


16th May 2010, Lot Valley, France. Photo: © Hester Coley
The as-yet un-opened flowers at the top form the 'burnt-tip' characteristic of the orchid.


16th May 2010, Lot Valley, France. Photo: © Hester Coley
The reddish-brown burnt-looking hood or cowl consists of a top sepal and two close-packed side petals forming a tight hood.
The lip is log and parallel-sided with a curved nick only at the bottom. Two side lobes are oval. Together they look like someone dressed in a loose white clowns outfit doted with with a few red spots.


LATE-FLOWERING FORM

Sorry, your Author at present has no photos of this late-flowering form



Some similarities to : Lady Orchid (Neotinea maculata) which is much larger than Burnt-tip Orchid and up to three times taller, where the upper lip of the petals is also dark-purplish-brown (but there are records of completely white specimens). The lip of Lady Orchid is also spreads apart forming a roughly triangular skirt with a short, but upside-down, v-shaped nick.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The reddish-brown 'burnt' tip (together with the narrow-lipped red-spotted flowers).

It is said to smell like Heliotrope (which itself is purported to smell of custard or vanilla). [Heliotropes are garden flowers belonging to the Heliotropium genus, only one of which ever grew wild in the UK, European Turn-sole (Heliotropium europaeum) and that only grew wild in 1-3 hectads and hasn't been espied for 2 or more decades].

There are only two orchids in the Neotinea Genus (not to be confused with the Neottia Genus of the Twayblades) to which Burnt-tip Orchid belongs, the other being Dense-Flowered Orchid which is most un-like this lacking a burnt-tip.

It grows on short turf in alkaline chalk or limestone soils, but rarely in meadows. It is fairly rare, occupying less than 100 hectad squares, often on south-facing hillsides.

The late-flowering form slightly differs from the early-flowering for in several aspects:

  • It flowers 2 months later (July to August) rather than May to June.
  • On account of the longer grass later in summer it also grows taller (8-15cm) rather than 5-10cm.
  • The reddish colour of the hood remains largely intact rather than fading to white.
  • The lip is both shorter and stubbier, and has larger reddish spots.
  • The edge of the lip is usually flushed a magenta shade, which sometimes suffuses throughout the lip (which never occurs on the early-flowering form).


  Neotinea ustulata  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
 family8Orchid family8Orchidaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Neotinea
Neotinea
(Dense-Flowered Orchids)

BURNT-TIP ORCHID

BURNT ORCHID

Neotinea ustulata

(Formerly: Orchis ustulata)
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]