The first orchid I learnt the name of. Its bright flowers are easily spotted, often in profusion by roads and the shape of the dense cone of flowers makes the name easy to remember. As more buds open the flowering stem becomes more globular or cylindrical. It remains easy to identify as there are two raised ridges on the base of the flower lip which is unique to this species. It is pollinated by moths and butterflies and the ridges on the petal guide the proboscis to trigger the pollination mechanism.
Pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) grows in well drained soil that has calcium in it – from chalky grasslands to sand dunes. It is an early coloniser of new habitats and as such the stirred up soil of roadworks can be ideal. It grows in England mostly in the south central area and not further north than Yorkshire – exhibiting a preference for milder climates. It grows in grass which is close cropped and also where the grass grows taller, the flower still distinctive because of their eye catching colour and shape. It can flower as early as May and as late as August but mostly it flowers from mid-June to mid-July. In Kent and Dorset last year they were fully flowering by mid-June and certainly past their best before mid-July.