Dactylorhiza incarnata ssp coccinea   Early Marsh-orchid C DD N

Dactylorhiza incarnata ssp coccinea spike Dactylorhiza incarnata ssp coccinea florets

I remember going to look for this orchid early in the season in May and thinking it must have disappeared from the known site. It hadn't though, Early Marsh-orchid isn't very early at all flowering in June usually. It has six sub species: cruenta, ochroleuca, incarnata, gemmana, pulchella and this one, coccinea.

Although this is the correct colour for this particular specimen, many of the other flowers in this sub species have a more brick-red colour. The distinguishing feature of D. incarnata is that the lip of the flower is folded back so that it appears to have a prominent ridge along the central axis. It grows in the dunes slacks at Newborough Warren and in quite good numbers too.

D. incarnata ssp coccinea has a western coastal distribution with the highest concentration of records in the outer Hebrides. It is dotted about the British Isles and Ireland otherwise with the best sites in south Wales and on the Sefton Coast in England.

Newborough Warren, Anglesey 16th June 2004

Added on January 24th 2005, updated 11th December 2008, Updated 28th March 2010

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