Identification

Ghost Orchids are very distinctive in appearance and there are no similar species with which to confuse them. The key identification points are:

 

  • 5-10cm in height,

 

  • No green leaves,

 

  • Translucent white, rose tinted stem, with a pale “bud” at the top,

 

  • Pale, large, “waxy” looking flowers, soft pink and cream in colouration,

 

  • Most plants will carry just 1 or 2 flowers,

The stem itself tapers towards the top, with a slight bulge at the base, where it meets the soil. The stem is a creamy white colour, often with a purplish/pink wash. The stem will never be grey or a bluish-white.

There are usually 2-4 sheathing leaves going up the stem, spaced well apart. 

Ghost Orchids always have a failed flower at the top, which will form a bent bulge above the top-most flower.

Most plants will carry just 1-2 flowers. These are pale, large and waxy looking, being soft pink, cream and white in colouration. 

What to look for

 

Ghost Orchids are very distinctive in appearance and there are no similar species with which to confuse it. The key identification points are:

 

  • 5-10cm in height,

 

  • No green leaves,

 

  • Translucent white, rose tinted stem, with a pale “bud” at the top,

 

  • Pale, large, “waxy” looking flowers, soft pink and cream in colouration,

 

  • Most plants will carry just 1 or 2 flowers,

 

Further Information

Have a look at our Research Officer Sean Cole's paper, published in the BSBI's 'New Journal of Botany', for a detailed analysis of previous Ghost Orchid sightings in Britain.

 

For more ghostly images, check out the Ghost Orchid Gallery

 

A more in depth look at the life cycle of the species, and accounts of previous records in the UK can be found here.

 

Additionally, for more information about the Ghost Orchid collection at the Welsh National Herbarium in the National Museum, Cardiff, visit: 

www.museumwales.ac.uk