Common Twayblade

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Common Twayblade

Scientific name: Neottia ovata
An easily overlooked orchid, the Common Twayblade is yellow-green and less showy than other UK orchids. Look for it in woodlands and grasslands on chalky soils, in particular.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 50cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

March to July

About

The Common Twayblade is a medium-sized orchid that can be easily overlooked despite being one of our commonest species. Common in the woodlands, scrub and grasslands of chalky soils, its flower spike carries a very loose cluster of yellow-green flowers that are not as showy as some of the other, more exotic-looking orchids. It is in bloom from May to July.

How to identify

The Common Twayblade has a pair of broad leaves that appear flush to the ground in March, before the flower stem grows. The single green flower spike bears the yellow-green flowers that look a little like tiny people. The stems can carry up to 100 flowers.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The Common Twayblade is related to the much rarer, Lesser Twayblade, which grows on moorland and in wet woodland. Both are named after their 'twin blades': Common Twayblade has two broad, rounded leaves that grow near the base of the plant, while Lesser Twayblade has two heart-shaped leaves in the same place.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.