Heath Spotted-orchid - Dactylorhiza maculata
Similar in many respects to Common Spotted-orchid though not as robust. Also the lower lip of the flower is broad and only slightly 3 lobed. The leaves are usually marked with circular spots and mainly have pointed tips.
This is a difficult genus that readily hybridises, leading to many intermediate forms; the species also exhibit a wide range of variation. Other Dactylorhiza in VC55 are Common Spotted Orchid, Southern Marsh Orchid, Early Marsh Orchid, and hybrid between Common Spotted and Southern Marsh Orchids (D x grandis); other hybrids within Dactylorhiza are possible where both parents grow together.
Stem solid; leaves nearly always spotted; spots often more or less circular. Labellum (lower lip) lobed much less than half-way to base with central lobe as long as or shorter than the two laterals and much less than half as wide as them.
A photograph showing details of flower and spotted leaves
Found in damp places on acid peat soils.
Flowers June to August.
Widespread and fairly frequent in Britain.
Local in Leicestershire and Rutland, but can be fairly frequent in suitable locations. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 15 of the 617 tetrads.
In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011) it is listed as subsp. ericetorum; Native, from 60+ localities; now scarce.
It is on the VC55 Rare Plant Register
Leicestershire & Rutland Map
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Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015