SMALL-WHITE ORCHID

Pseudorchis albida

(Formerly: Leucorchis albida), Gymnadenia albida), Habenaria albida)
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8green
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZspiked
 
type
typeZbell
 
type
typeZspurred
short
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8vanilla smell8custard
vanilla
rarity
rarityZuncommon
 

20th June 2009, Inch, Marshes, NE Scotland. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
Between 10 to 40cm tall with 30-40 white flowers in the spike. (Infrequently specimens with over 100 flowers can be found).


20th June 2009, Inch, Marshes, NE Scotland. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
The flowers are held close to the stem in a tightly-packed cylindrical flower-spike. Three to four slightly broad basal leaves plus one or two much narrow stem-leaves.


20th June 2009, Inch, Marshes, NE Scotland. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
The flowers are small and almost tubular or bell-shaped, with the petals and sepals forming a tight hood. The very short lip is yellow/green and does have two short slightly-pointed side-lobes but they huddle near the hood. The central lobe of the lip is bluntly rounded at the end, curving outwards just a fraction further from the hood and is only really noticeable on close inspection.

Behind the hood, mostly un-seen, is a thick, very short, only 2-3mm long spur, conical spur which curves downwards.

So-called 'frog-spit' or 'cuckoo-spit' (a frothy liquid produced during the nymph stage of the adult insects collectively known as Froghoppers) coats part of the flower spike.


Has been confused with : white versions of Pyramidal Orchid in Southern England, which seems a bit strange given that the two are supposed to look quite different. Maybe from afar?

Hybridises with :

Not dis-similar to : Creeping Lady's Tresses (Goodyera repens), Summer Lady's-tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis) and Autumn Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) which all have small white flowers but the shapes of the flowers differs markedly.

No relation to : Small White (Pieris rapae) [a butterfly with similar name].

Tolerating wide-ranging soil conditions from Carboniferous limestone to moderately acidic soil. It is found in well-drained mountain pastures up to 2200 feet high, on moorland after a heather burn before the heather re-grows, and on cliff edges. Often grows near Fragrant Orchid and Heath Spotted Orchid (with which it can hybridise) and Lesser Butterfly-Orchid.

The flowers smell of vanilla. The spur at the rear of the flower is short.


  Pseudorchis albida  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
 family8Orchid family8Orchidaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Pseudorchis
Pseudorchis
(Small-White Orchid)

SMALL-WHITE ORCHID

Pseudorchis albida

(Formerly: Leucorchis albida), Gymnadenia albida), Habenaria albida)
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]