Southern marsh orchid

Southern-marsh orchids (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire. -

Terry Whittaker/2020VISION

Southern marsh orchid

Scientific name: Dactylorhiza praetissima
This is probably the most widespread and commonest of the marsh orchids.

Species information

Conservation status

It has disappeared from 20% of its historical range. The reduction is almost certainly due to changing agricultural practices and the draining of damp pastures.

When to see

May, June, July

About

These orchids love chalky, damp soil and its range is not limited to just marshes and wet fens. It can tolerate much drier meadows which probably accounts for its greater success than other members of the family. You are most likely to spot them during the summer months of May, June and July.

How to identify

Pale pink or purple flowers.

Did you know?

Historically it was confused with other marsh orchids and it seems not to have been separately described until 1914.