Lathraea squamaria - Toothwort

Occasional throughout Britain, North to mid Scotland, on richer or calcareous soils.



Toothwort is another plant without green leaves, but, unlike the Bird's-nest Orchid, it does not share resources with its partner, instead it steals them. Toothwort is a parasite which attaches itself onto the roots of Hazel and Elm trees and takes everything it needs from its host giving nothing in return.

It also lives below ground for most of the year, out of sight until the spring when it pushes up its ghostly white flowering spike through the leaf litter. In April and May its dirty pink-tinged toothlike flowers can be found scattered around the woodland floor.

Photos - B. Soames

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