Burnt orchid is infrequent in the UK
Formerly Orchis ustulata, Neotinea ustulata is an endangered orchid and is on the Red List of threatened plants in the England. The word Endangered means that the plant is very high risk of extinction in the wild. This is because it requires unimproved chalk grassland. Luckily for me, there is some of that where I live, in Seaford Sussex. The local colonies are monitored by Seaford Natural History Society.
Identifying Neotinea ustulata
The orchid is also known as burnt tip orchid because it is darker nearer the top. It has white flowers with dark pink spots and purple hoods. The flower buds at the top darken almost to aubergine purple. The flowers I saw were about 15 to 20cm high in longish chalk grassland. As far as I know there’s nothing it could be confused with. I’m afraid I didn’t look for leaves this time, but hope to go back next year. I visited them in mid-July when the flowering season was coming to an end.
2021 was a particularly good year for orchids in my neck of the woods!
More about Orchids in general