Platanthera Chlorantha, Greater Butterfly Orchid

Platanthera chlorantha can be distinguished from the slightly rarer lesser butterfly orchid, platanthera bifolia, by its pollen sacs, which form an inverted V shape rather than being parallel.

Common name:
Greater butterfly orchid
Scientific name:
Platanthera chlorantha
Main flower color:
Scattered locations across most of the UK
Up to 50 cm
Grassland and open woodland, especially on calcareous soils
The two lateral sepals are lance-shaped, quite broad at the base, and spreading, while the middle sepal projects forwards, forming a hood with the upper two petals, in which are two pollen sacs, their edges not parallel. The lower petal is straight, undivided, greenish towards the tip, and up to 15 mm in length, while its spur is longer (up to 30 mm). Flowers are subtended by narrow leaf-like bracts, about as long as the stalks. The flower cluster extends up to 20 cm along the top of the stem
At the base are a pair of broad, oblong leaves, up to 15 cm long, angled upwards, while along the stem are a few smaller, narrower, lance-shaped leaves
June to July