Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. hebridensis

(Dactylorhiza hebridensis)

Hebridean spotted orchid

A plant of western Ireland and western Scotland, including the Hebrides; also in The Shetland Isles.

Frequent in these areas on dunes and machair. It is distinguished from subsp. fuchsii by its deeper coloured flowers with a generally broader labellum. It is shorter and more compact than subsp. fuchsii.

Some botanists do not consider it sufficiently distinct to warrant subspecific status, and treat it as a botanical variety. Conversely, others, such as Pierre Delforge, rank it a species in its own right.

Upper photograph: The Burren, W Ireland 2005.
© Tom Ennis

Lower photograph: Co Donegal, Ireland 2005.
© Jackie O'Connell

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© National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland, 2005