Not to be semantically confused with : Lady's-Slipper Orchid, Autumn Lady's-Tresses, Irish Lady's-Tresses or Creeping Lady's-Tresses [other Orchids with similar names] nor with
Lady's-Mantle, Lady's Bedstraw, Lady's Smock or
Lady's Teardrops (Fuchsia magellanica) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families]
Can be mistaken for : Burnt-Tip Orchid (aka Burnt Orchid) (Neotinea ustulata), but that is much shorter at only one-third the height, with flowers half the size and generally has most of the dark-purple hoods at the huddled together at the top of the flowering spike, rather than having all the hoods the same shade of dark purple. Also, the 'womans dress' has far fewer purple spots, no pink edging, and therefore looks more white than does Lady Orchid.
Hybridizes with : Monkey Orchid (Orchis simia) to produce Orchis × angusticuris, which is only found in one hectad in the UK.
Slight resemblance to : Military Orchid and Monkey Orchid (Orchis simia), which can be distinguished from each other by the shape of the lip (with body and 'limbs'). [All three have longish hoods which curve upwards at the end].
Peloric flowers, where the flowers have actinomorphic (radial) symmetry, are known and have three lips ('skirts') spaced at 120° intervals. Specimens with upside-down ladies are also sometimes found.
A fairly rare plant, occupying less than a dozen hectads, all South and East of Bristol (especially in Kent) and without any presence in Eire.
It grows in open woods of
Beech, Ash or
Hazel and scrub on chalk soils. Occupies bare steeply sloping ground and associates with Yew Trees. Only rarely out in the open on grassland. Able to remain in a vegetative state in the ground for decades it can suddenly re-appear in spectacular displays after ground clearance such as felling of trees, or following woodland coppicing.
It has a pleasant fragrance (those of Burnt-Tip Orchid smell like