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.
Heath-spotted x Hebridean Spotted-orchid
Dactylorhiza x transiens
Dactylorhiza fuchii subsp. hebridensis x maculata subsp. ericetorum
Common Tormentil leaf
(acid soil plant) above
the orchid leaf
These pages will develop into full details later in the year, but for quick identification purposes, there are two main orchid species with a white or pink colour like this, the heath-spotted orchid and the Hebridean-spotted orchid.
The Hebridean-spotted orchid likes sandy lime soil, so if you are on acid moor looking at a pale pinkish orchid and there are common tormentil growing within the same area, you are probably looking at a heath spotted-orchid (or a hybrid species that has some heath-spotted orchid in it).
In the photograph of a leaf above there is a common tormentil leaf to be seen. This is a pale orchid, so it is probably the heath spotted-orchid or a hybrid species that has some heath spotted-orchid in it.
The biggest difference between the two pale-coloured orchids is the shape of the bottom petal of the florets. In the heath spotted-orchid the central toothed bit is small, and in the Hebridean spotted-orchid it extends out a long way past the rest of the skirt.
In the orchid in the main photograph at the top of this page the tooth is long, but the orchid is growing on acid soil so this is very likely a cross between the two species. (The leaf shape also suggests this).
Heath-spotted x Hebridean Spotted-orchid is a frequent hybrid.
We now have a new section in the web site with notes to help with identification of the orchids in the Western Isles
I am learning as I go, so this is not yet a confirmed identification.
All orchids are protected by law.
Photographs Suzanne Harris
Uig - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
17th June, 2007