Early-purple Orchid - Orchis mascula

    Alternative names
    Early Purple Orchid

    Grows to 60 cm and has 3 to 5 narrow-oblong basal leaves, often with purple blotches. The stem is often purplish with several sheathing leaves in the lower half. Flowers purple with an unpleasant smell, the lateral sepals spreading upwards like ‘wings’, the upper sepal and petals forming a hood.

    Identification difficulty

    Deciduous woodland, Dunes etc.

    When to see it

    April to June.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Widespread throughout most of Britain, and can be locally frequent.

    VC55 Status

    Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 30 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map