Irish wildflowers

Photographs: Ballingeary, Co.Cork

Common Spotted-orchid
Dactylorhiza fuchsii
Nuacht bhallach
Family: Orchidaceae

Flowering time: May-August. Tuberous perennial. Native.
Pale-pink flowers, with purple spots, streaks. Occasionally white. Flower spike conical, becoming cylindrical. Deep 3-lobed lip, pointed lobes, Mid-lobe longest. Basal leaves broad-elliptical, blunt, transverse elongated purple spots, sometimes un-spotted. Solid stems. Slender growth. Very variable. 15-40cm.
O'Kelly's Spotted-orchid. Pure white flowers, unspotted leaves. W Ireland.

Neutral or calcareous soils. Woods, roadsides, grassland, marshes, dune-slacks, heaths. Also colonises embankments, waste ground, quarries.
Similar: Heath Spotted-orchid, D. maculata

Identification between Common Spotted-orchids, D. fuchsii and Heath Spotted-orchids, D. maculata can be difficult. Common Spotted-orchids are normally found on calcareous or neutral soils, Heath Spotted-orchids on acidic ground.
"There is evidence suggesting that Spotted-orchids on intermediate soils tend to be intermediate in appearance."
Ref. 'Orchids of Britain and Ireland' by Anne and Simon Harrap

Photographs above: Ballingeary area, Co.Cork. May 2007

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