Western Isles
 Western Isles of Scotland

Western Isles Wildflowers

Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.

 

Early Marsh-orchid

Dactylorhiza incarnata sbsp. coccinea

Gaelic name: Mogairlean Lèana

Wildflowers - Early Marsh-orchid
Wildflowers - Early Marsh-orchid
 

For quick identification purposes in the Western Isles there are two main orchid species with rich colour like this, the Early Marsh-orchid and the Northern Marsh-orchid.

The Early Marsh-orchid only likes non-acid soil (basic) preferably the lime-rich sandy soil of the machair, like Riof or Northton. Northern marsh-orchid will grow in soils which are quite acid as well as the lime ones, and is often found in damp grassland and at roadsides.

Neither Early Marsh-orchid or Northern Marsh-orchid have spotted leaves (unless they have crossed with another species)

Early Marsh-orchid

In the Early Marsh-orchids the bottom part of the florets are narrow-looking with the sides pulled back

.Those of the Northern Marsh-orchid are not "pulled back" and the bottom part of the floret appears diamond-shaped

Early Marsh -orchid   Northern Marsh-orchid

Early Marsh Orchid Notes

 

Early Marsh-orchid

Early Marsh-orchid subsp. coccinea

  Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. incarnata Dactylorhiza incarnata. subsp. coccinea
 

Very deep flesh-pink, pinkish, pale purple,
(white very occasionally)

Deep scarlet, sometimes described as brick-red, crimson or ruby (uniquely so in orchids) fades a little as the as season progresses

  Cyclindrical flower-head Stocky little orchid
  Dunes or marsh by sea, machair
Only on dunes and machair
Florets
click photographs for larger version
Early Marsh Orchid Floret
Early Marsh Orchid
 

Bottom part of flower is slightly 3-lobed and overall shape often quite pointed

Left and right lobes are pulled tightly backwards
(relexed) making the floret look more rectangular and narrow

Markings red double-loop with dots and lines inside or purple spots

Bottom part of flower is slightly 3-lobed and overall shape often quite pointed

Left and right lobes are pulled tightly backwards
(relexed) making the floret look more rectangular and narrow

Markings red double-loop with dots and lines inside

Leaves

Narrow and pointed, erect

Yellowish-green

No spots (usually)

Tips turn in and make a little hood

4 -5 Leaves keeled like a boat hull

On the lower-half of the stem

Broad and flat leaves, erect

Yellowish-green

No spots (usually)

Tips turn in and make a little hood?


4 - 5 Leaves keeled like a boat hull


On the lower-half of the stem?

Modified leaves behind the floral envelopes
(bracts)

Narrow and pointed

 


Lower ones usually longer than the flowers

 

Spur on the back of the florets

 

Downward pointing or horizontal

half as long as ovary (ovary attaches floret to plant)

 
Early Marsh Orchid Spur
Early Marsh-orchid
15 -30 florets
15 -30 florets
Usual height in Western Isles
10 - 30cm
10 - 25cm
  x Northern Marsh-orchid
(Fairly frequently)
D. x latirella
 
 

x Hebridean Spotted-orchid
(Rarely)
D. x kerniorum

x Broad-leaved Marsh-orchid
(Very rare)

Early Marsh Orchid is a native plant of the Western Isles.

All orchids are protected by law.

 

Main Photographs © Kim Park
Uig - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
3rd July, 2005

Visit Kim's web site of her photography of the Western Isles
www.bigbigskies.co.uk

Index
A-Z Wildflowers

Flowers By Colours:
thumbnails

yellow wildflowers

white wildflowers

pink wildflowers

blue or purplish

orchid ID notes

Flowering in:

January

February

March   

April

May

June

July

Colour of the season

May 27th Lush Green!

June 11th White

June 25th Pink

 

 


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