Bird’s nest orchid

Common name:
Bird’s nest orchid
Neottia nidus-avis
Magairlín neid éin
Orchidaceae- The Orchid Family
Flowering period:
June to July
Beech/hazel woodlands, damp meadows
Conservation Status:
rare in the Burren and of limited distribution throughout Ireland

Short description:

Yellowish- brown plant with stems (25-35cm) high, leaves reduced to brown scales along the stem, flowers small -10mm across, supported on short pedicels to form a spike-like flowerhead

Noteworthy characteristics:

A saprophytic plant lacking chlorophyll and attaining all its nutrients  through parasitic means on fungal growths on the woodland floor

Uses and other points of interest:

There are no specific uses recorded for Bird’s-nest orchid in Ireland.

Personal notes:

For me this is one of the strangest wild Irish orchids full of mystery and intrigue as it stands quietly on the woodland floor. I first spotted this plant in the Burren on a woodland walk during the Summer of this year (2021).  I was delighted to see it and the fact that it was not long since it had started to flower allowed me to take some lovely photographs.


I returned to the same site where we recorded Bird’s nest orchid last year on the 22 of June 2022 to find that alas it had not flowered this year, the only reminder of last years glory was its still standing stem


Conservation Status

Wildlife (NI) Order, 1985

This orchid has a limited distribution throughout Ireland





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