The butterfly orchids are a small genus of orchids that are erect in habit with small carrot like roots and fleshy ovoid base leaves. The flowers are highly fragrant, particularly in the evening and are pollinated by night flying moths whose long probosces are able to access the nectar in the long narrow spur.

There are about 85 species around the world but few are offered for sale.

In the UK the two native species are available and can be grown in a meadow, rockery or pot providing they are grown in the right pH. The small carrot like tuber will develop roots at the base of the growing point over the autumn period and often the tuber will double in size. Particularly if it has been dry during the summer. Growth commences early in the spring with the emergence of the two oval shaped leaves. Flowering is usually in May.

When grown in a pot the compost should be kept slightly damp during the summer and then watered through the autumn and again in the spring when growth starts. Plants are not guaranteed as tubers may be lost during the winter period from a range of natural and climatic conditions.


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