Orchis Mascula, Early Purple Orchid

Common name:
Early purple orchid
Scientific name:
Orchis mascula
Main flower color:
All of the UK, though less common across much of Scotland
Up to 40 cm
Grassland and open woodland, especially on calcareous soils
Purple, pink or occasionally all white. The two side sepals are strongly bent back, sometimes almost vertically upwards, while the middle sepal projects forwards, overlaying the two small, upper petals, which form a hood. The lower petal, or lip, which is whitish towards the base with a few small purple spots, is quite shallowly divided into three approximately equal-sized lobes, somewhat ragged along the margins. The spur of this petal is angled upwards, and is similar in length to both the stalk and the narrow floral bracts
Oblong, dark green, shiny, up to 10 cm long and 3 cm wide, usually but not always dotted with purple blotches; in a basal rosette and along the stem, sheathing, in a spiral arrangement
April to June