BBC Countryfile Magazine
NINE COMMON ORCHIDS
Orchid hunting is always a thrill, sometimes with a hint of magic. Their dust-like seeds, carried on the wind, mean that these charismatic wildflowers can appear almost anywhere. Words: Phil Gates BEE
Flowers mimicking female bees attract male bees, to pollinate the flower, but British populations usually self-pollinate. Widespread; range extending northwards.
Easily overlooked in chalk downland and woodland, its small flowers, resembling flies, are pollinated by digger wasps. Widespread in southern England.
Its dense, strawberry-icecream-coloured cone of flowers becomes cylindrical with age. Found in limestone grassland and coastal dune slacks. Pollinated by moths.
With dark spotted leaves and tapering inflorescences in shades of pink with purple lines, this appears in grassland and woodland, at times in large numbers.
Sweetly scented, attracting butterflies and moths that drink from a long nectar spur behind each flower, this is found in calcareous grassland across the UK.
Large, exotic flowers in showy spikes grow among dunes and in marshy habitats around England and Wales. Visited by flies, solitary bees, wasps and small beetles.
Usually the first to bloom, often in bluebell woods, this attracts bees but has no nectar. Visitors discover the deceit after pollinating the flowers. Widespread.
The tall, graceful spike of widely spaced, long-spurred white flowers rises from a pair of leaves. Its powerful dusk scent attracts long-tongued moths.
Sensational en masse among cowslips in old pasture, this is dainty with unspotted leaves. Sepals and petals form greenveined bonnet over flowers. Pollinated by bumblebees.