Saturday, 12 June 2010


It's that time of year again. Malcolm and I were greeted by the sight of the first orchids to open their flowers this morning. Firstly the gorgeously coloured flowers of the Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa).
The flowers of this plant are variable in colour, though generally rather dark purple. Occasionally they can even be white which would make the identification much more difficult.
Among the Southern Marsh Orchids, there are many more Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii).
As you can see from the Latin name, they are both of the same family (the Dactylorhyza - which means finger-like roots) and are rather similar to look at. The Common Spotted is named after it's leaves which are usually (but not always) spotted with chocolate - brown blotches. The flowers are well marked too and, like the Southern Marsh Orchid are rather variable in colour from dark pinkish-purple right through to white. A sure sign that Summer has arrived and a welcome addition to the grassy spaces around Shipley Park.
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