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


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

UK Map