Information on Small White Orchid

Common Name: Small White Orchid
Scientific Name: Pseudorchis albida
Irish Name: Magairlín bán
Family Group: Orchidaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Small White Orchid could sometimes be confused with:

Orchid, Dense-flowered,

Small White Orchid is a very rare member of the Orchidaceae or Orchid family which grows in mountain grassland and on rock ledges. It is a protected species, reaching not a lot more than 20cm high. It bears exquisite, tiny (2-3mm long) greenish-creamy-white flowers in a dense cylindrical spike on a narrow stem. The flowers, which appear to be bell-shaped, have tepals which form a short hood and a 3-lobed, down-turned lip – the centre lobe being slightly than the outer pair. The short spur is downward-pointing. The lower leaves are oblong-lanceolate and unspotted, and there are narrow, short stem leaves. This protected species flowers from May to July.

I first saw and photographed this species in Co Sligo in 2013 when it was shown to me by Ulli Peiller and Howard and Peg Frost of the Orchid Society of Ireland. I am extremely grateful to them for taking me and Pete to see it.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Orchid, Small White
Orchid, Small White

This species is protected under the Flora (Protection) Order, 2015 and is classed as VULNERABLE in the Red Data List of Vascular Plants 2016. 

If you are lucky enough to come across this little Orchid, get down if you can – carefully so as not to damage other plants – and smell it. It has a beautiful vanilla fragrance.