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.


Hebridean Spotted-orchid

Dactylorhiza fuchii subsp. hebridensis

Gaelic name: Urach-bhallach

Hebridean Spotted-orchid
Orchid ID Notes
Pale coloured orchids
Intense coloured orchids
White or green orchids
Sources of notes
Hebridean Spotted-orchid

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 heath-spotted orchid likes moorland, acid soil, so if you are on sandy machair soil looking at a pale pinkish orchid and there are no tormentil growing within the same area, you are probably looking at a hebridean spotted-orchid. (or a hybrid species that has some Hebridean spotted-orchid in it).

If there is 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).

The orchid in the photograph above is growing on sandy machair soil.


(We have a page where the heath spotted-orchid and the Hebridean spotted-orchid identification notes are compared side by side).

Hebridean Spotted-orchid notes

  Dactylorhiza fuchii subsp. hebridensis
Pale Colour Orchids (Pinkish)

Pale pink, lilac,
sometimes white or dark reddish-purple tinged

Flowerhead dense, pyramidal-shaped or oblong


Often in groups


Usual height in Western Isles 10cm to 25cm tall
  Only on dunes, machair and damp meadows (usually near the sea)
  Hebridean Spotted-orchid

Bottom part of the flower deeply 3-lobed with angular shaped lobes and with the central lobe considerably longer than the other two

Leaves and stem

7 -12 leaves spreading to downcurved

Rounded to elliptical, spaced along the stem


Upper leaves smaller, almost not a proper leaf

Hebridean Spotted-orchid
Lower leaf

Modified leaves behind the floral envelopes  
Spur on the back of the florets

Hebridean Spotted Orchid Spur
All the Spotted-orchid family - Straight, slim, parallel sided



Heath spotted-orchid x Hebridean
Heath spotted-orchid x Hebridean spotted-orchid
D. x transiens


x Northern Marsh-orchid
D. x venusta

x Early Marsh-orchid
D. x kerniorum

Heath-spotted Orchid is a native plant of the Western Isles.

All orchids are protected by law.


Photographs © Suzanne Harris
Great Bernera - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
23rd May, 2006


A-Z Wildflowers

Flowers By Colours:

yellow wildflowers

white wildflowers

pink wildflowers

blue or purplish

orchid ID notes

Flowering in:








Colour of the season

May 27th Lush Green!

June 11th White

June 25th Pink



back to page top

Home Contact Webmaster

Copyright © 2010 Western Isles Netspace.  User Agreement and Privacy policy