Orchis Ustulata L. Burnt-Tip Orchis

About the same height as the last, but less robust, and noticeable for its dense spike of small flowers, the colour of the unopened ones at the top giving it a burnt appearance. Tubers entire. Leaves few, broadly lanceolate. Spike 2 inches long, with small bracts. Sepals deep purple, arching over the small narrow petals. Lip white, with a few purple spots, 4-lobed, i.e. deeply 3-lobed, with 2 lateral lobes and the middle one divided into 2 spreading, obtuse lobes. Spur very short.

Pastures of the hills and sub-Alps, extending sometimes higher. May to July.


Central and Southern Europe as far east as the Caucasus and northwards to Scandinavia. England.

Orchis Maculata L. Spotted Orchis

Tubers spreading, rather flat, and divided into 3 finger-like lobes. Stem about a foot high, or sometimes more. Lower leaves usually ovate-lanceolate; upper ones narrow lanceolate, smaller, often with dark spots. Flowers in a dense oblong spike, 2-3 inches long, usually pale pink, but varying from white to deep rose or purple. Lowest bracts generally longer than the ovary. Lip broadly orbicular, irregularly 3-lobed, sometimes toothed, middle lobe smaller than the others, the lip spotted with deeper colour. Spur slender, a little shorter than the ovary. A very variable species.

Meadows, pastures, moors, and open woods from the plains to the lower Alps; very common. May to July.


Europe, Western and Northern Asia. British.

Orchis Latifolia L. Marsh Orchis

Usually stouter than the last, the stem more hollow, the leaves larger and often not spotted, the spike longer and more leafy, the bracts longer, the flowers more deeply coloured and less variegated, the lip very obscurely 3-lobed or merely toothed, and the spur thicker.

Damp meadows, marshes in the plains and sub-Alps. May, June.


Europe, Western and Northern Asia. British.

We have found hybrids between this and Gymnadenia conopsea at Mont Cenis and in the Italian Maritime Alps at about 5000 feet. They are very rare, and the specimens were determined by Mr. R. A. Rolfe of Kew as synonymous with Orchi-gymnadenia Lebrunii, Journ. de Bot. (1892), p. 479. Camus - Gymnadenia comigera Reichb. fil. Fl. Germ., t. 523, fig. 2.

"The bracts are larger. Spur shorter and stouter than in G. conopsea." R. A. Rolfe in lit.

Orchis Incarnatus L

Very near 0. latifolia, 1-1 1/2 feet high. Tubers palmate, with 2-4 spreading lobes. Leaves 5-6, erect, lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, very rarely spotted; middle leaves largest. Flowers rose, or flesh-coloured, rarely white, in a dense spike. Bracts purplish at the borders, longer than the flowers. Lip almost flat, irregularly toothed, almost entire, rose, streaked with purple.

Damp meadows and mountain bogs. May, June.


Europe, especially Central and Northern, including Norway and England; Western Asia.