Listera cordata

Lesser twayblade; Listčre en coeur; Kleines Zweiblatt; Hjertebladet flinglębe

Circumpolar in distribution. Widespread in northern Europe and in mountain ranges further south, such as the Pyrenees, Alps (to 2000 m) and Apennines. Local or rare, but difficult to find in the field on account of its generally small size. Non-flowering plants seem to be frequent in any population and are particularly difficult to recognise.

Top photograph: Northern Ireland, c. 1970.
© Raymond Piper

A small orchid, growing up to a maximum of about 20 cm tall, but usually much shorter, with just two heart-shaped leaves towards the base of the stem, and reddish flowers with bifurcated labella. It is found on acid soils in heathland, peat bogs and coniferous woodland.

Bottom 2 photographs: Woods near Davos, Switzerland 1983
© John Wilde

Click photographs for larger images.

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© National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland, 2006