Neottia nidus-avis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Asparagales Orchidaceae

Scientific Name: Neottia nidus-avis (L.) Rich.
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Bird's-nest Orchid
French Nid d'oiseau
Distomaea nidus-avis (L.) Spenn.
Epipactis nidus-avis (L.) Crantz
Helleborine nidus-avis (L.) F.W.Schmidt
Listera nidus-avis (L.) Curtis
Ophrys nidus-avis L.
Serapias nidus-avis (L.) Steud.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2011-03-24
Assessor(s): Rankou, H., Contu, S. & Chadburn, H.
Reviewer(s): Fay, M. & Bilz, M.
The species has a wide distribution range across Europe extending into north Africa and north and west Asia. It is common in many areas and although there are localized population declines, the threats to the species and its habitats are unlikely to cause the population to decline severely in the near future. Neottia nidus-avis is currently assessed as Least Concern. The species needs to be monitored at periodic intervals to detect any significant declines.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Neottia nidus-avis is found throughout most of  Europe eastwards to the Caucasus and western siberia and southwards to northwest Africa. In Europe the species is found in Scandinavia and Finland and south to the Mediterranean including Italy, Greece, Corsica, Sicily and Sardinia and the Balearic Islands, and eastwards to Crimea and the Caucasus; it is mainly restricted to the mountains in the south of the range and absent from the Mediterranean lowland. The species can be found from 100 m up to 2,000 m altitude (Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Harrap and Harrap 2009, Lang 2004, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2010, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Germany; Greece (Greece (mainland)); Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Italy (Sardegna, Sicilia); Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Moldova; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Romania; Russian Federation (Central European Russia, East European Russia, European Russia, North European Russia, Northwest European Russia, South European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Baleares, Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine (Krym, Ukraine (main part)); United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland)
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):100
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is widespread in Europe and while still common in many deciduous forests it is becoming rare in parts of its range. The populations are decreasing and the overall population size is unknown. In Britain the total loss of individuals between 1500 and 1999 was 54% and in Ireland, it was 45.5% of the area. (Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Harrap and Harrap 2009, Lang 2004, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Bird's Nest Orchid is a terrestrial leafless species that lacks green chlorophyll and has a relationship with a fungus which enables it to obtain nutrition (Gardes 2002). Neottia lives in symbiosis with the fungus Rhizoctonia. The fungus/orchid combination is effectively a perennial saprophyte feeding on decomposing leaf litter, or possibly the mycorrhiza may be shared with nearby tree species. The plants do not appear every year. It grows in woodlands, often on basic soil, under shade in deep leaf litter in beech, hazel and pine forests. The species prefers chalk and limestone soils and also grows in clays and sands that have a chalky or limestone component. It grows in shade, even tolerates heavy shade and flowers from May to July (Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Harrap and Harrap 2009, Lang 2004, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The bulb is very nutritious when cooked. It is a source of 'salep', a fine white to yellowish-white powder that is obtained by drying the tuber and grinding it into a powder. Salep is a starch-like substance which can be made into a drink, added to cereals or to bread. It can be prepared in the same way as arrowroot. A jelly can be made from the salep which is used to treat irritations of the gastro-intestinal canal (Plants For a Future 2010). This orchid is collected for its ornamental value.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Bird's-nest Orchid is declining locally in the European part of its range due to the conversion of deciduous woodland into conifer plantations, the use of heavy machinery in forestry operation, and activities that increase the amount of light reaching the forest floor. In addition, this orchid is affected by urbanization, tourism, and related infrastructure expansion, as well as plant collection (Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Harrap and Harrap 2009, Lang 2004, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

All orchid species are included under Annex II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The species occurs in numerous protected areas across its range.

This orchid is included in the following national red lists:

The following actions are recommended to protect Neottia nidus-avis:

  • Protection of woodland from being converted into conifer plantations.
  • Cease of heavy machinery use in forest operations.  
  • Sympathetic management of isolated subpopulations.
  • Raise public awareness.
  • Protection of the living individuals through legislation enforcement which bans the species from being picked or dug up.
  • Ex situ conservation: artificial propagation, re-introduction, seed collections.
  • Monitoring and surveillance of the existing populations and sites.
  • Estimate the population size and study their dynamics
(Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Harrap and Harrap 2009, Lang 2004, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).

Citation: Rankou, H., Contu, S. & Chadburn, H. 2014. Neottia nidus-avis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T175996A44484143. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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