West Highland Flora

Early Purple Orchid


Orchis mascula

 

Orchis mascula

Photo Carl Farmer
7 May 2004 Scorrybreac, Skye

Frequent in grassy places where the soil is not too acid, and on coastal cliffs and beside rocky burns in hills.

Height c 15-50 cm.  Lowest petal c 6-10 mm wide

ID: Bracts (at base of each flower) < 2mm wide, much shorter than flower, membranous, one-veined, coloured like the flowers.  In other purplish Skye orchids the bracts are wider, longer, more robust and coloured more like leaves.

Other features: Flowers earlier than other orchids.  Lowest petal 3-lobed, leaves often spotted.  Spur is stout, wider than the bracts.  Lower petal has spots only near the mouth, not all over as with the purple Dactylorhiza species.

 

Orchis mascula

Photo Carl Farmer
7 May 2004 Scorrybreac, Skye
Infl c 4.4 cm long (tip to tip of flowers)

  Orchis mascula

Photo Carl Farmer
9 Jun 2003 Penifiler, Skye
Plant c 40 cm high

On cliff ledge with previous year's fruiting stem


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