Dactylorhiza cruenta

(D. incarnata subsp. cruenta)

Flecked Marsh Orchid

Mainly found in the Alps and Scandinavia. Delforge states that its distribution outside these regions is poorly known. Found in acidic or calcareous marshy soils in full sunlight.

This member of the D. incarnata group is variously classified as a species in its own right or as a subspecies of D. incarnata. It differs from other members of the aggregate in having rather dark, purplish flowers and with a significant proportion of individuals having spotted leaves. The spots occur on both sides of the leaf.

The photograph is of a plant from western Ireland. Some authorities consider the British and Irish plants not to be 'true' cruenta, but perhaps better referred to D. incarnata var. hyphaematodes. Others regard var. hyphaematodes and cruenta to be identical.

See also Dactylorhiza incarnata

Photographs: The Burren, W Ireland.
© Tom Ennis

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© National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland, 2005