A perennial on limestone pavements, wet grassland and pastures, Frog Orchid is one of the less obviously attractive orchids but it makes up for that by being quite distinctive and therefore not too difficult to identify. A shortish plant – to 20cm high – its stem rises from a basal rosette of broad, oval leaves, while further up it has narrow leaves which cling to the stem. Each flower (8mm across) consists of a greenish hood, formed by sepals and upper petals, which is over a yellow-green, strap-shaped lip. This is forked with a little tooth in the centre. These flowers – which bloom from June to August - are borne in a loose spike and can sometimes be tinted red-brown. The spur is very short. This is a native plant and it belongs to the Orchidaceae family.
I found this plant growing at Ballyryan, Co Clare in 2009 and the photographs were taken at that time.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre
Previously classified as Coelglossum viride, Frog Orchid is an easy plant to overlook as it is almost completely green-hued, blending into the calcareous grassland on which it grows.
To learn more about our Irish orchids, I would heartily recommend a really superb book on the subject which is published by the Collins Press and entitled 'Ireland's Wild Orchids - a field guide'.
Each of our native orchids is beautifully illustrated by the gifted botanical artist, Susan Sex and is an exquisite representation of an amazing plant; Susan's illustrations are complemented by carefully-chosen words from our National Botanic Gardens orchid specialist, Brendan Sayers. Susan's illustrations of key features of our native orchids are extremely useful when trying to identify a species and Brendan's descriptions help to broaden one's understanding of this complex and intriguing subject, and lead one nearer to making a possible identification. He also contributes information on the conservation of these magnificent little plants and gives details of where they might be found. Please seek out this masterpiece from your usual bookseller or find it on http://www.collinspress.ie/irelands-wild-orchids.html