COMMON SPOTTED-ORCHID

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Formerly : Orchis fuchsii and Orchis maculata
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]  

month8May month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8purple
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ2
type
typeZspiked
type
typeZspurred
stem
stem8round
stem
stem8hollow

27th June 2009, Blackleach Country Pk, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
A monster, maybe 3 foot high!


22nd June 2007, Bridgewater Canal, Barton. Photo: © RWD
A not-quite so tall specimen.


31st May 2007, Sandscale Haws Nature Reserve. Photo: © RWD
A smaller version. Leaves peel off up the stem.


25th June 2004, Grindleford, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The lip is marked with darker-purple lines which form two loops, which may be interrupted.


22nd June 2007, Bridgewater Canal, Barton. Photo: © RWD
Has up to 150 flowers in a tapering spike.


31st May 2007, Sandscale Haws Nature Reserve. Photo: © RWD
Pointed bracts intersperse the flowers in the flower-spike.


30th May 2007, Walney Island. Photo: © RWD
The side-lobes are rhomboidal, the central one a tapered triangle which extends well beyond the two side lobes.


22nd June 2007, Bridgewater Canal, Barton. Photo: © RWD
Flowers are coloured pale lilac or pink with darker purple markings.


27th June 2009, Blackleach Country Pk, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Within the hood (upper) are the sexual organs and entrance to the spur.


27th June 2009, Blackleach Country Pk, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The round hole leads into the nectar-containing spur, which tempts some insect in to sample the sweet honey, at the same time scraping its head upon the pollen-containing purplish pollinium poised above in the hood.


27th June 2009, Blackleach Country Pk, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The two (here pink) organs parallel to each other are the caudicle (the narrower 'stem') and the pollinium containing the pollen (at the top).


27th June 2009, Blackleach Country Pk, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Side-view of flower showing the fairly long slender and straight spur (un-like the fat conical spur typical of the Marsh-Orchids) behind the flower containing sweet nectar. The bracts are longer than the ovaries.


27th June 2009, Blackleach Country Pk, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The leaves, most specimens have dark-purplish blotches.


 Dactylorhiza fuchsii ssp. okellyi

19th Aug 2010, The Burren, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Nominally a sub-species, okellyi, but Clive Stace doubts whether they qualify sufficiently for sub-species status
O'Kelly's Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii ssp. okellyi) has un-spotted and slender leaves.


19th Aug 2010, The Burren, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Sub-species okellyi
The plant stands up to 30cm tall and the flowers are strongly scented in a square-topped spike. The flowers are white tinged faintly pinkish in places whilst the lobes are almost equal length and rounded.


Easily confused with : Heath Spotted-Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata) but that has narrower leaves which have smaller spots and a more pyramidal flowering spike. The flowers of Heath Spotted-Orchid have a broader lip with shorter central lobe and finer markings which extend over the whole surface of the lower lip and form perhaps only a single broken loop on each side.

Distinguishing Feature : For an orchid, the flowers taper towards the top in a spike. Totally white un-marked specimens with longer flowering spikes than ssp okelly are not un-common, and given the moniker 'alb'.

Perhaps the U.K.'s most common orchid. Flowers mid-May to early August.

The stems are hollow which can be tested by a gentle squeeze.

There are two sub-species :

  • Dactylorhiza fuchsii ssp. okellyi much shorter at only 30cm high with slender leaves which are not spotted and the flower spike is flat-topped with pure white or only very faintly marked.
  • Dactylorhiza fuchsii ssp. hebridensis which is shorter still, a dwarf at only 15cm high and with a densely-packed flowering spike with large and rosy-pink flowers which have a longer central lobe. Like Heath Spotted-Orchid it can have markings which extend over the whole lip and do not form distinct loops.

Plus one variety :

  • Dactylorhiza fuchsii var. rhodochila where the whole lip is a uniform dark rosy-red-purple and possess no markings. The leaves are heavily spotted and suffused with the same colour as the flowers producing a brownish-bronze coloration.

Often hybridizes with :

Rarely hybridizes with :


  Dactylorhiza fuchsii  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
family8Orchid family8Orchidacaea

 BSBI maps
genus8Dactylorhiza
Dactylorhiza
(Marsh-Orchids)

COMMON SPOTTED-ORCHID

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Formerly : Orchis fuchsii and Orchis maculata
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]  

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