Early Marsh Orchid - Dactylorhiza incarnata - Western Isles Pink Wildflowers

Marsh Marigold - Western Isles Wildflowers

Early Marsh Orchid
This lovely orchid - the early marsh orchid seen in the western isles is stunning. This Hebridean wildflower, the early marsh orchid likes non acid soil - loves the sandy soil of the machair. A truly beautiful hebridean wildflower.


The flowers are carried in a dense spike of 20~30 flowers which in the "typical" subspecies of the plant are flesh-coloured (hence the name 'incarnata').The flowers can be coloured from pink to deep purple.

Orchids Seen On The Western Isles
This lovely orchid - the early marsh orchid seen in the western isles is sometimes called the 'meadow orchid' is really beautiful.

The Early Marsh-Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata) is very variable in the colour of the flowers, but the shape of the lip is very distinctive and unique to the species. The really deep scarlet ones are ssp coccinea.

Bottom Part of Flower - Lip Bent Backwards
In the bottom part of the flower floret - the sides of the lip are bent backwards so that the lip is keeled and appears very narrow. (see opposite) The lip is elongated and narrow, with a pattern of swirls and loops leading to the centre of the flower.


Flower of Early Marsh Orchid Showing Bottom Lip Bent Back


Gorse - Hebrides Wildflowers

Petal Markings
The petals have a red double loop with dots and lines inside


The leaves of this orchid are not spotted (unlike many other species) The leaves appear in Spring, are quite broad. This orchid has a thick flower stem

Pollination is by bees, particularly bumblebees.

The Early Marsh Orchid likes Non Acid Soil

The Early March Orchid of The Hebrides likes the sandy soil of the machair.
This orchid grows in marshes, also in wet meadows where the soil is alkaline

This fascinating orchid has several subspecies, with flowers from pure white through salmon pink, lilac and red. It's Protected By Law, as are all wild orchids.
If You remove or disturb the ground - you can be fined or imprisoned - or both. If you are wanting to move them you need to get a licence from the local council.

Flowers of Early March Orchid - Hebrides Flora
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