This is the largest of the British native orchid growing in calcareous soils and sand dunes. Its impressive flower spike can reach to a metre tall when in flower in late June. It is also known as the Lizard Orchid because of the shape of individual flowers and the Goat Orchid for the very pungant smell it has, by which it attracts a variety of insects.
One problem experienced with this species is that in producing tens of thousands of seeds it uses all the energy contained in the new tuber and hence dies. In order to avoid this it is important to deadhead the flower spike before seed is set.