Species of the Month - May 2013
Early Purple Orchid
This is the first orchid to flower and is most often seen in May. It is recognisable by the colour and the 3-lobed lower petal with the middle lobe notched. Spots are confined to the centre of the flower and it does not have the complex arrangement of lines, dots and loops covering most of the lower petal as in Northern Marsh Orchid and its relatives. The leaves usually have purple spots but can be plain green.
This orchid likes a calcareous environment, so it is often an indicator of other botanical interest. It is found on cliffs and rockfaces, often on the coast, also in gorges and in woodland or grassland.
The flowers have an attractive scent when first open and attract bees as pollinators, but the scent becomes unpleasant when the flower is a bit older. As with many other orchids, plants of this species don't necessarily flower each year. In some years they may put up only a rosette of leaves, or even remain completely underground. (source: Orchids of Britain and Ireland, A & S Harrap, 2009)
Please send in your Early Purple Orchid sightings using the form below,
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
with the details if you prefer. If you are
not sure of the identity of your orchid, please send a photo to email@example.com,
or put one on the
LORN forum and let me know it is there.
By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy. Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.
10 May: Chris Irvine found 2 spikes in flower in Glen Nant.
11 May: Chris Irvine found 12 flowering spikes at the foot of rocky outcrops in the field around Glencoe war memorial.
12 May: Sallie Jack and party found 10 flowering spikes near Onich.
14 May: Judith Witts saw 6 at Achinduin, Lismore.
18 May: Chris Irvine found a solitary spike in full bloom by the river Awe on our LNHG walk.
24 May: Sallie Jack and party found about 20 at Smirisary near Glenuig.
25 May: Jan Hamilton found several east of Kinlochleven and took the two photos below.
28 May: Marion Moir found the first of several on the LNHG field trip in Glen Euchar.
29 May: I found a couple near Arduaine.
30 May: Cynthia Grindley found 5 spikes on Mull.
5 Jun: Plentiful on U3A visit to Frackersaig, Lismore.
Note you can still send in records for past species of the month. Here is the list of species we've had so far:
- Peacock Butterfly