Not everything is late this year.
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I discounted the early-purple as my book shows that it's leaves are spotted.
The leaves of Orchis mascula but can be unspotted though not often.
There are a few specimens close to this one, none of which are spotted. Is the "early" ID based on the date or is there something else I should look out for?
... but I would have said that this was early purple orchid - Dactylorhiza purpurella has a more strongly marked labellum and more prominent lateral petals.
The identification was based on the morphology.
The open flower has not rotated and so is upside down.
It may rotate later or could be a genetic variant that does not.
In Dactylorhiza there are large leaf-like bracts and the flower is quite a different shape.
Ahh, thank you. In June/July that whole area is covered in orchids, which I've always called northern marsh-orchids. When they appear I will look forward to comparing the two species. It's all a bit confusing to a neophyte like me.
Lat/Lng: 57.67911, -2.615
OS grid ref: NJ634656