Irish wildflowers

Early Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza incarnata, Magairlín mór
Co.Cork, Co.Limerick, Co.Dublin

Early Marsh Orchid
Dactylorhiza incarnata
Magairlín mór
Family: Orchidaceae

Flowering May-July. Tuberous perennial. Native.

Flowers usually white, pink or purple. (Ssp. coccinea has reddish flowers.)
Narrow, cylindrical flower-spike, lower bracts longer than flowers. Sides of lip strongly reflexed, weakly 3-lobed, 2 U-shaped loops enclosing dotted patches. Leaves erect, keeled, usually unspotted. (Ssp. cruenta, leaves spotted both sides) Hollow stem. Very variable, links to subspecies below. Identifications by Ian Denholm

Damp calcareous soils, meadows, fens, marshes, dune-slacks. Also slightly acidic bogs, damp heaths. Declining due to habitat loss.      

D. incarnata ssp. pulchella,    D. incarnata ssp. incarnata,    D. incarnata ssp. coccinea and an albino form

Early Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza incarnata
Thank you to John Diggin for photographs of Early Marsh-orchid used immediately above

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