Although in decline it is still possible to find large colonies of Lesser Butterfly-orchids in the UK and to enjoy the overwhelming perfume of a mass of these orchids.
Lesser Butterfly-orchid is found throughout many northern and central European countries including Slovenia where we saw many plants in the Triglav National Park in June.
The two Butterfly Orchids (Lesser and Greater) are very alike and both are night scented. Different types of insect pollinate them so presumably they smell different although it is impossible for us to detect that. The safest way of telling the two orchids apart is to examine the pollinia - in the Lesser Butterfly-orchid the pollinia are vertical and in the Greater Butterfly-orchid they lean in towards each other at the tops. Both types of Butterfly Orchid can be found on heaths, on the edges of woodland and and on marshy ground.
The specimen above was photographed in a South Wales Nature Reserve (Cae Blaen Dyffryn) near Lampeter in June.
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