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Common spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Dactylorhiza fuchsii, the common Spotted-orchid is widely variable in colour and height and is sometimes difficult to identify.

Ranging from 15 to 60 cm in height, the dense and rich-flowered inflorescence is at first conical then cylindrical.

The variations in colour and lip-markings between specimens highlight just how diverse a single orchid species can be. The flowers vary from white to pale purple with purple spots, a symmetrical pattern of dark purple loops or dots and dashes. The lip has three lobes but the exaggerated central lobe is more than half as large as a lateral lobe. The bracts are usually shorter than the flower.

Flowers from June through to August.

Found in open woods and grasslands favouring calcareous or neutral soils. Some colonies are highly perfumed which is attractive to day-flying moths.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii is the County Flower of West Lothian.

You can adopt a seed from this species for £250. Your donation will be used towards the work of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, ensuring this species is kept safe in the vaults forever, and to collect more species in the future.

In addition to receiving your adoption pack featuring your certificate and photograph of the species (this will be posted to you, or the recipient), you will be invited to the County Flower sponsor's event at the Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst where you can meet the staff and see the vaults where your species is stored.

If you have any questions, please contact Jill Taylor on 020 8332 3248 or email j.taylor@kew.org.

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