Lesser butterfly-orchid is a sturdy-stemmed orchid that can reach half a meter in height. It has two elliptic basal leaves and its flower spike is located at the top of the stem. When blooming in June-July the flowers of Lesser-butterfly orchid spread their strong, pungent scent especially in the night-time.
Lesser butterfly-orchid flourishes in e.g. herb-rich forests, nutrient-rich heath forests and meadows. Its broad area of distribution covers most of Europe and Central Asia.
At present Lesser butterfly-orchid is protected in Finland but in the beginning of the 20th century it was a common plant sold in streets and markets. The plant provides nourishment for pollinators like hawkmoths. The seeds of Lesser butterfly-orchid contain no nutrients itself and they need help of mycelia to germinate.
Since Lesser butterfly-orchid is a protected species it is prohibited to collect or harm it.
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