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UK Nature  > Wild Flowers  > Red Wild Flowers  >

Dactylorhiza praetermissa

Scientific Name:   Dactylorhiza praetermissa
Common Name:   Southern Marsh Orchid

The Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) is widespread and fairly common throughout Europe as far north as southwest Norway. In the UK it is locally common in the southern half of the country, less so in the southeast and north Wales, and absent from Scotland. It favours marshy ground and dune slacks, and often occurs with the similar-looking northern marsh orchid (D.purpurella), which makes accurate identification tricky.

The southern marsh orchid typically reaches 30 to 50 cm tall although specimens up to 70 cm can occur. The leaves measure 10 to 20 cm long, are flat and usually unspotted. The conical flower spike, 5 to 10 cm long, bears 100 or more flowers, whose colours range from pale pink to dark magenta. Each flower has a broad lip, 9 to 14 mm across. This lip is gently rounded in D.praetermissa but more angular in D.purpurella.

Flowers appear in late spring to summer, dependent upon the weather, but typically from June to July.

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