Dactylorhiza praetermissa   Southern Marsh-orchid C DD N

Dactylorhiza praetermissa

These orchids are quite common in Cheshire and we had a stand over over 500 together Dactylorhiza fuschii (Common Spotted Orchid) and the hybrid between D. fuschii and D. praetermissa growing together locally. I went to look for them last year and they had virtually all gone and the hybrids, which would reach over a metre in height, had totally disappeared. Theft I'm afraid not global warming or habitat destruction.

Like many of the marsh orchids, they are quite variable and os it is useful to know that a marsh orchid of this appaerance can only really be D. praetermissa. I look for the prominent bracts, the spotty pattern on and shape of the labellum, the thick spur and the size of the plant which is usually twice or even four times the size of a D. incarnata.

The other thing which books don't tell you is that D. praetermissa can be quite early flowering - I have found them in flower on May 5th but Early marsh-orchid (D. incarnata) isn't necessarily early flowering at all. At Newborough Warren the D. incarnata ssp coccinea for example are at their best in mid June.

D. praetermissa is common in southern counties and up to and including the latitude of Lancashire but records decrease rapidly from Cumbria northwards and it does not grow in Ireland.

Bog in Kent 2nd June 2007

Added on 6th June 2005, updated 11th December 2008, updated 28th March 2010, updated 30th July 2012

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