Early marsh orchid by Gordon Coupland 1/2
Early marsh orchid at Hingham by Angela Collins 2/2

Early Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza incarnata

Early records amalgamated all species of marsh orchid. The early marsh orchid seems to have been first recorded around 1840. It is widespread throughout Britain though East Anglia is a stronghold. Nowhere is it common. There are five identified sub-species (of which only two occur in Norfolk) as well as three named variations and several colour variants. The pure white var leucantha can occasionally be spotted in Norfolk.

Conservation status

It has disappeared from 43% of its historical range. There was a reduction of 14% in the number of 10km squares where it was found from 1970-1986 (Harrap 2005-2009). The reduction was largely due to loss of ancient meadows, particularly in wetter areas.

Details

Did you know?
Incarnata means “flesh-coloured” referring to the pale pink colour of the nominate species.
Coccinea means crimson and refers to the deep red colour of a sub-species; the derivation is similar to cochineal, the red food colouring.
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