This short orchid is a plant of unimproved drier grassland, usually flowering in May or June.
How to identify
The flowers cluster around a single spike, and tend to be pink or purple with three lobes. The name is derived from a hood formed by the sepals above the flower which appear lined with green veins. The leaves are narrow and pointed and do not have spots on them unlike some other common grassland orchids.
Where to find it
Old hay meadows and other unimproved grasslands. Grazing animals present during May and June may remove the flower heads making them harder to locate and identify. They are widely distributed throughout England and Wales.
When to find it
How can people help
The UK has lost over 97% of its unimproved hay meadows. The Wildlife Trusts own and manage many such reserves and promote sympathetic management with private landowners and organisations to protect and expand other such sites. By joining your local Wildlife Trust you can help them to continue this work.