Common Spotted-orchid

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Dactylorhiza fuchsii, the common spotted orchid, is a common species of orchid. It is widespread across much of Europe, with the range extending eastward into Siberia, Mongolia and Xinjiang. The species is also reportedly naturalised in the Canadian Province of Ontario.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii is widely variable in colour and height, ranging from 15 to 60 cm in height. The dense and rich-flowered inflorescence (flower spike), produced in June–August, is at first conical then cylindrical. The flower colour can vary from white to pale purple with purple spots, a symmetrical pattern of dark purple loops or dots and dashes. The lip has three lobes. The bracts are usually shorter than the flower. The lip is smaller than that of the very similar Dactylorhiza maculata and has three deeper cuts. The middle lobe is more than half as large as a lateral lobe. Some colonies are highly perfumed, attractive to day-flying moths. The leaves are narrow lanceolate, keeled and often dark-spotted.