|IDENTIFICATION OF FRAGRANT ORCHIDS
All three species of Fragrant Orchid have a great propensity for their so-called 'identifying features' to overlap so much that quite often it is impossible to separate the three species. The identifying books don't help much either for there are at least 6 ID guides to separating the three species, but often they also disagree on which features are better for identifying them. The only fool-proof reliable way of identifying them for certain is by DNA analysis, whereupon the delineation between the three is clear-cut (it is by this means that the 3 species were split from just one species with 3 sub-species in the first place). But hardly anyone has a DNA analyser, let alone an affordable lightweight portable one for use in the field and even if they had, most plants have not yet been scanned or added to the DNA database (as far as your Author understands - as of March 2019).
Fragrant Orchids are possibly the hardest flowers to reliably and accurately identify in the field, and there are some that cannot. If any reader thinks I have mis-identified any, please let me know which one(s) and what their real identities are - or if it is one of those unidentifiables and just needs deleting (I'll go and dig it up :-).
Some experts say that the 3 species don't flower at the same time, but others say that you cannot rely on this! Most of the 3 Fragrant Orchids dont grow together anyway, some areas have only one species, some two (as in Nob End) and a few (Waitby Greenriggs) all three species, but not usually all flowering at the same time.
But a Fragrant Orchids itself, counting the 3 as just one, is easily identified as a Fragrant Orchid, the trouble only comes when trying to determine which one...
Some experts say that the 3 species don't flower at the same time, but others say that you cannot rely on this! Most of the 3 Fragrant Orchids don't grow together anyway, with some areas have only one species, some two (as in Nob End) and a few (Waitby Greenriggs) possess all three species, but not usually all flowering at the same time.
But a Fragrant Orchid itself, counting the 3 as just one, is easily identified as a Fragrant Orchid, the trouble only comes when trying to determine which one...
Easily mistaken for : any of the 3
Fragrant-orchids (Gymnadenia) species.
If anyone thinks that any specimens on this page are other than Marsh Fragrant-orchid, then please let me know (and preferably submit some photos which definitely are Marsh Fragrant-orchid, especially if you have ID'd them by a genetic DNA scanner to be 100% certain - your Author would be pleased to insert them here with acknowledgements).
Gymnadenia species form Inter-Genera Hybrids with several other Orchids:
- (Gymnadenia densiflora × fuchsii) which is found in Cumbria and South Hants as well as probably potentially occurring wherever Marsh Fragrant-orchid occurs.
- (Gymnadenia densiflora × praetermissa) to produce X Dactylodenia ettlingeriana which is found in Southern England and South Wales.
- (Gymnadenia densiflora × Dactylorhiza purpurella) which was once found in Westmorland in 2003.
Intergenera hybrids should not really occur if the taxonomy is correct, intergenera hybrids usually indicate that the taxonomy is wrong, but in the case of Orchids, this taxonomy will never be sorted out, there are other unseen players on the field: their fungal partners.
Fragrant Orchids bear somme semblance to Pyramidal Orchid, but Pyramidal Orchids have two flaps either side of the lower part of the 'hood' - which are absent from Fragrant Orchids.