Hebridean Spotted Orchid -Dactylorhiza fuchii subsp. hebridensis

Heath Spooted Orchid - Tolsta Head

Hebridean Spotted Orchids
The hebridean spotted orchid grows on the machairs or dunes that are near to the sea - or even the damp meadows near the sea.

The hebridean spotted orchid is specific to the western isles

Machairs - Damp Meadows - Dunes
This pretty wild flower just grows wild usually on machairs or dunes or damp meadows that are near to the sea.

Shells Broken up in The Sand
The shells that are broken up in the sand have served to prepare the ground for this pretty wildflower. You will often find these orchids growing in groups.

Protected by Law
All wild orchids are protected by law 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.

Bumblebees and butterflies occasionally pollinate these flowers, but most active are Bristle Flies and the long-legged true fly.

It is quite common here that you can find hybridised plants with perhaps the plant being a cross between the hebridean spotted orchid and the heath orchid.


Click pictures below for larger photographs
The Hebridean Orchid likes Sandy Lime Soil
The Hebridean-spotted orchid likes sandy lime soil, if you are on sandy machair soil looking at a pale pinkish orchid and there are no tormentil growing within the same area, you are probably looking at a hebridean spotted-orchid. (or a hybrid species that has some Hebridean spotted-orchid in it).

A variety of the Common Orchid - A Sub Species - Or A Species in Its Own Right???

Some "Orchidologists" - (if that's what you call orchid experts) argue that this orchid is just a variety of the common orchid - some say its a sub species and some say it is a specific species in its own right - whichever it is - its just jolly pretty!

Wildflowers - Hebridean Orchids 10cm to 25cm tall

These wildflowers are 10cm to 25cm tall - very delicate looking. This orchid is generally thought to be a low-growing form of the much more widespread Common spotted-orchid (which doesn't occur here in The Hebrides . This lovely spotted orchid is perhaps the most striking of all the spotted-orchids, when in its big, showy, deep magenta flowers.

There can be from 7 to 12, downward curved, the leaves of the Hebridean orchid are usually more rounded as opposed to pointed, (those of the Heath Spotted Orchid are pointed)
Heath Spotted Orchid - Hebrides Wildflowers

Distinct Petal Shape - Centre Toothed Petal - Long Point
The centre toothed bit of the lower petal on the florets is quite long in the Hebridean Spotted Orchid - whilst its much shorter in the Heath Spotted Orchid. You can clearly see in the picture opposite the long toothed centre petal

Identification - Hybrids
It can be quite difficult identifying precisely which orchid species you are looking at - as for instance you could be seeing the centre tooth petal is sometimes long, but the orchid is growing on acid soil so this is very likely a cross between the a heath orchid and a hebridean spotted orchid - which is a frequent orchid hybrid here in The Western Isles

Petals of THe Heath Spotted Orchid
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