In flower the bee orchid is unlikely to be mistaken for any other British species. The three pink ‘wings’ of the flower and the central hairy brown ‘bee body’ patterned with yellow spots and lines are unique. Each flower appears as if, at the centre of the three pink ‘petals’, a small hairy bee is sucking nectar. The bee is formed by the lower lip of the orchid flower. The flowers project outwards from a single green flower spike which varies in height from just 5cm to over 30cm. Spikes usually have 2 to 6 flowers, but, only one or two are likely to be fully open at any one time, with the flowers at the top of the spike being the last to open. The leaves are broad and green, shaped like the keel of a boat, with parallel veins running the length of the leaf. The lower leaves are largest and higher leaves clasp the flower spike.