Not to be semantically confused with : Bird's-Foot (Ornitopus perpusillus) or with Bird's-Nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) nor with Bird's-foot-Trefoils (Lotus corniculatus) of which there are several [both of those are members of the Pea (Fabaceae) family] nor with
Bird's-nest Stonewort (Tolypella nidifica) [plants with similar names but which are not related to Yellow Bird's-Nest - but both are
saprophytes (or more correctly a myco-heterotroph) on underground fungi].
Nor to be confused with Bird's-Nest Orchid which is also saprophytic on underground fungi for sustenance, possessing no photosynthetic chlorophyll to provide energy from sunlight.
It has some similarities to Broomrapes such as Common Broomrape for these too are saprophytic plants lacking chlorophyll.
Yellow Bird's-Nest is yellowish, but may sometimes have some a faint greenish tinge which may be capable of some slight photosynthesis. It is scarce and listed as Endangered. It occupies woodlands beneath
Hazel on chalky soils. It can also grow on acid soils beneath
Pine trees. Your Author thinks that it must be the mycorrrhizal fungi attracted to either tree(s) which makes Yellow Bird's-nest seek these habitats out. It also grows on damp dune slacks with Creeping Willow, which are acidic in nature due to the quartz in sand.
Uniquely identifiable characteristics
Distinguishing Feature : its pale-yellow to yellowish nature and when immature its umbrella-handle stance.
It's botanical name is one of much hilarity by quantum physicists: its name irregularly swaps between being called
Monotropa hypopitys and
Hypopitys monotropa! It is in a quantum superposition between the two names and genera :-)
Some similarities to Toothwort, which is also a parasitic plant.
It has two subspecies, of ~equal rarity (both have a Clive Stace [R] rarity rating):
- Hypopitys monotropa ssp. monotropa which has
less than 11 flowers
hairy stamens, carpels and the insides of petals
style is same height or longer than ovary
Occurrence very scattered in England
- Hypopitys monotropa ssp. hypophaega which has
less than 8 flowers
petals 8 to 10mm
hairy or not stamens, style and the insides of the petals
style is same height or shorter than ovary
ovary without hairs
Occurrence local in Britain and Ireland but absent from much of North & West Britain.
The fruit is a capsule (sorry, no photos).