Close-up of a man orchid flower

© Mike Waller

Little green men spotted in Britain?

These may look like tiny green men in space helmets, but they’re actually the flowers of the aptly named man orchid, Orchis anthropophora.

It is one of 56 orchids that grow wild in the UK. If you live in southeast England you might be lucky enough to spot one of these endangered plants, which flower from early May to late June.

Flower spike of the man orchid

The flower spike of the man orchid plant, which grows up to 30cm tall, looks even more like a tiny invasion of levitating spacemen.

 

You can find out more about where to look for these and other British orchids in our orchid identification guide PDF (16.1MB).

Identify nature

If you spot any interesting wildlife in the UK that you'd like to identify and find out more about, the Museum's identification team can help.