JaseJ's picture

Southern Marsh Orchid?

Observed: 28th June 2009 By: JaseJJaseJ’s reputation in PlantsJaseJ’s reputation in Plants
Southern Marsh Orchid?
Southern Marsh Orchid?
Southern Marsh Orchid?

An orchid of some description, maybe Early Marsh Orchid? Found near a small lake, close to reeds. Flower spike about 25 cm high, but there are signs that the area has been mown at some point. Leaves quite thin with no obvious spots.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


miked's picture

Probably more likely to be

Probably more likely to be Southern Marsh orchid as its later flowering and the pattern of speckles on the flower and shape of lip more closely match. Spots or lack of them on the leaves is not a good character as there can be unspotted populations of several of the marsh orchids.
However this group of orchids can be very tricky to be sure.

JaseJ's picture

Thanks for the info Mike. If

Thanks for the info Mike. If there are any key features to look out for, I can probably go back and get some more photographs.

miked's picture

Check around for more orchids

Check around for more orchids and take some photos of them too just incase this one was atypical. Look out for the pattern of speckles and shape of lip of each flower, you could also check to see if some plants have spots on the leaves and some not.
I have a bunch of Dactylorhiza species on my website:
it is in alphabetical order by latin name so you will have to scroll down to see the D's.
Common spotted orchid for example has a much longer central lobe compared to southern marsh. The lip is the bottom bit of the flower it has two lobes one on either side and a central one, in southern marsh this central lobe does not stick out much beyond the side lobes. (much easier to see on picture than describe!).

JaseJ's picture

No flowers left

By the time I got back to check on this plant, the flowers had all gone. There were only a couple of other plants near by, which seemed to be the same in terms of leaf and flower patterns. I've added a picture of the plant from July 12, showing the formation of the seed pods - I don't know id that's any use in identification. http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/2633

Martin Sanford's picture

This doesn't look like

This doesn't look like typical Southern Marsh, although D. praetermissa is quite variable the markings on the labellum (bottom lip) are not usually spread evenly all over the petal like your specimen. I think this may be the hybrid with Heath Spotted Orchid - Dactylorhiza x hallii.

Martin Sanford
Suffolk Biological Records Centre, Ipswich Museum, High St, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 3QH