Dactylorhiza fuchsii & maculata Orchidaceae Common & Heath Spotted-orchids

Plants Leaves Common Spotted flower Heath Spotted flower

Description - Common Spotted (D fuchsii) and Heath Spotted (D. maculata) Orchids are hard to tell apart (and may well hybridise in any case). Leaves of both will have dark spots. Overall, flowers can range from white to mid-pink, the markings also varying. In an obvious Common Spotted flower the lower lip is three-lobed, and the markings consist of darker lines. In an obvious Heath Spotted flower the lower lip has a small middle tooth, or sometimes none at all, just a frilly edge. Markings consist of dots forming lines, often quite faint.

Habitat - In wet, undisturbed meadows, generally with other Orchid species, but also in heathy areas and undisturbed hedgebanks.

Comments - Common Spotted Orchid is perhaps the least frequent in "orchid fields", and the most frequent in situations outside them, like hedge banks, as it prefers basic conditions, whereas Heath Spotted likes acid soils. All our Orchid species are rather rare and threatened, due in part to their sensitivity to artificial chemicals in the soil, but mainly due to lack of habitat. However, as awareness grows, people are at pains to protect them when they see them, and some lucky folk even have them in their own gardens! Please do not attempt to transplant them as they need special fungi in the soil in order to survive.



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