Common Spotted-orchid

Scientific name: Dactylorhiza fuchsii
The Common Spotted-orchid is the easiest of all our orchids to see: sometimes, so many flowers appear together that they create a pale pink carpet in our woodlands, old quarries, dunes and marshes.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 60cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to August

About

The Common Spotted-orchid is the most common of all UK orchids and the one you are most likely to see. It grows in many different habitats, including woodland, roadside verges, hedgerows, old quarries, sand dunes and marshes; sometimes so many flowers appear together that they carpet an area with their delicate, pale pink spikes. It is in bloom between June and August.

How to identify

The Common Spotted-orchid gets its name from its leaves, which are green with many purple, oval spots. They form a rosette at ground level before the flower spike appears; narrower leaves sheath the stem. The flowers range from white and pale pink, through to purple, but have distinctive darker pink spots and stripes on their three-lobed lips. The flowers are densely packed in short, cone-shaped clusters.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The highly perfumed flowers of the Common Spotted-orchid are particularly attractive to day-flying moths.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.