Lizard Orchid - Himantoglossum hircinum
This tall orchid carries up to 150 greenish-purple flowers on the flower spike. The common name refers to the flowers, which are said to look like lizards, with a long twisting tail and two 'legs' formed from the lips, and the petals and sepals forming the 'head'. The leaves are dull green in colour and often wither before the flowers open. The scientific name Himantoglossum derives from the Greek for 'strap-tongue' and hircinum is Latin for 'goat-like', this refers to the strong, foul smell of the flowers.
Typical habitats are grassland, ancient earthworks, scrub, open woodland, road, track and path sides, quarries, railway banks and calcareous sands (six of the current populations in these habitats are on golf courses).
It begins to flower from late May to early July.
This perennial orchid may live for more than twenty years, but most plants flower irregularly and many only flower once.
This species is rare in the UK, and found locally in south east England.
Rare in Leicestershire and Rutland where it was first recorded in June 2018. Precise location details have been noted but not made generally available.
Leicestershire & Rutland Map
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