A couple of days ago I went in search of Orchids.
The second site fared much better with a grand display of predominantly Common-spotted Orchids a few Fragrant Orchids and the odd spike of Pyramidal Orchid there was also a good selection of Common Twayblade.
It wasn't until I began to process the images and identify the different species that I noticed that there is a big variation in the colour and markings of the Common-spotted Orchid....Ah ha! I thought, a good subject for a blog post!
The Common-spotted Orchid (dactylorhiza fuchsii) can grow up to70cm tall. it has numerous narrow pointed basal leaves that are spotted or blotched with purple/ brown marks that can vary considerably in shape and density. The flower spike is made up of closely packed flowers that can vary in colour from pale lilac through pink to white. The lip is marked with a symmetrical pattern of one to three purple loops and varying amounts of dots.
Have you noticed that the word 'varying' seems to crop up rather a lot when describing this Orchid?
I hope the following images will make things a little clearer!
Orchid country....just a small area of the magnificent display
I think you'll agree a very challenging flower to ID even before you add into the mix the hybrids that can occur when they grow in proximity to other species.