Blossoms in midsummer; prefers dry and lime-rich habitats; the lack of suitable habitats makes it rather rare in Estonia. They can even be seen in habitats where there is practically no other vegetation – pebble beaches or dune sands. On average, it grows up to 1.5 metres. Sometimes, the plant can grow in a tight bundle, because new and young plants develop from the rhizome. Small flowers are usually dark red, rarely greenish-red, and even less often yellowish. The flowers, which smell like vanilla, are located on one side of the stem. The lower part of the labium resembles a tiny blood-red heart.