Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp fuchsii - Common Spotted Orchid

Scientific Name: Dactylorhiza fuchsii fuchsii. 'Dactylos' is the Greek for finger and 'rhiza' for root, referring to the palmate arrangement of the root structures. The famous German botanist and Professor of Medicine Leonhart Fuchs is honoured in the species name.

English Name: Common Spotted Orchid. It's the leaves that are spotted, and although common in some areas, it is only common in the southern Touraine and Berry in a few very specific sites.

French Name: Orchis de Fuchs (= 'Fuchs' Orchid').

5 Key Characters:
  • Pale pink flowers with purple streaks and spots (sometimes pure white)
  • Leaves with many transversely elongated purple spots (ie not round, but more oval or rounded rectangles).
  • Labellum (bottom petal) deeply trilobed.
  • Labellum lobes pointed and middle one slightly longer than the sides.
  • On alkaline soils.
Lookalikes: All other Dactylorhiza spp, but especially Heath Spotted Orchid D. maculata. Also known to hybridise with this species, and with Coeloglossum viride, Frangrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea and Short-spurred Fragrant Orchid G. odoratissima.

Habitat: Full sun to semi-shade on alkaline soils (occasionally neutral or acid) – dry grassland, open woods and copses, woodland edges, grassy slopes, seeps and marshes.

Flowering Period: May-June-July.

Status: Fairly common and relatively unthreatened due to the range of habitats it will grow in. Can be seen within 5km of Preuilly-sur-Claise, in the Brenne and Sologne. Can be conspicuous.

Recorded by Loire Valley Nature:

2 June 2008 Etang de la touchette (roadside)


Left: Photograph by my mother.
Centre right and right: Photographed on the cliff tops at Longues sur Mer, Calvados (375 km north west of our area).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Susan,

    I now know I have finally found a
    French blog that will feed four of my passions. Great information on France, over the top photography,
    orchids, and animals. Thank you and Simon for such a beautiful gift.