Common spotted orchid
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia. (October 2012)|
The Common Spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) is a commonly occurring species of Eurosiberian orchid. It is widely variable in colour and height, ranging from 15 to 60 cm in height. The dense and rich-flowered inflorescence (flower spike) is at first conical then cylindrical. The flower colour can 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. The bracts are usually shorter than the flower. The lip is smaller than that of the very similar Dactylorhiza maculata and has three deeper cuts. The middle lobe is more than half as large as a lateral lobe. Some colonies are highly perfumed, attractive to day-flying moths.
- Flowers: June–August.
- Leaves: narrow lanceolate, keeled, often dark-spotted.
The orchids that are most similar are Dactylorhiza maculata. D. maculata ssp. maculata is distinguished by having the lip less deeply trilobed, while Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. saccifera is distinguished by having one spur large and saccular (sac-shaped) and the bracts of the inflorescence as long as or longer than the flowers. Outside of the "maculata group" a species very similar D. fuchsii is Dactylorhiza majalis which is distinguished by the following characters: the spots of the leaves are less elongated, the bracts of the inflorescence are longer and the lower transcend the inflorescence itself;it tends to be less cylindrical (a little 'more globular), the stem is hollow (not solid) and the leaves are slightly larger. Amongst other similar orchids are Dactylorhiza incarnata (L.) Soo and Dactylorhiza lapponica (Hartm.) Soo. These stand out as the habitat is quite different ( fens and bogs ) and in any case the stem is hollow.
Distribution and habitat
D. fuchsii is a Eurosiberian species occuring over Europe from Ireland in the West eastwards to Mongolia, the Altai Mountains and across Northern Asia. It is sympatric with Dactylorhiza maculata. Typical habitats are, variously across the range, conifer, beech and chestnut forests, moderately wet meadows, bogs and margins of streams. The preferred substrate is supposedly calcareous although it seems not to be particularly linked to this type of substrate. In mountain, subalpine and alpine ecosystems D. fuchsii is found from 900 to 2300 m above sea level.Elswhere it is found from sealevel. The full list of areas (World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions) for D. fuchsii is Finland, Great Britain, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Corse, Italy. Romania, Yugoslavia, Belarus, Baltic States Central European Russia, East European Russia, North European Russia, South European Russia, Northwest European Russia, Ukraine, Altay, Buryatiya, Chita, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tuva, West Siberia, Yakutiya, Xinjiang, Mongolia.
This plant belongs to a problematic group of orchids. D fuchsii is very variable in flower colour and flower morphology, plant height and the scent of flowers. This is due to the ease of introgression (the transfer of genetic material from one (sympatric species to another, only partially isolated from the first, through interspecific hybridization and repeated backcrossing to a parental species), the ability of these plants to adapt quickly and easily to habitat and different substrates and possibly other causes. This situation has resulted in a multitude of forma defined for this plant. The World Checklist of Kew Gardens lists over 25 varieties of which 7 are recognized as valid
- Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. carpatica (Batoušek & Kreutz) Kreutz (Slovakia)
- Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. fuchsii (Europe to Siberia and Mongolia)
- Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. hebridensis (Wilmott) Soó (Great Britain, Ireland)
- Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. okellyi (Druce) Soó (Great Britain, Ireland)
- Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. psychrophila (Schltr.) Holub (Europe to Siberia)
- Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. sooiana (Borsos) Borsos (Slovakia, Hungary)
Hybrids with other species of the same genus are frequent. Theses include
- Dactylorhiza majalis (Rchb.) PFHunt & Summerh.
- Dactylorhiza traunsteineri (Saut. ex Rchb.)
- Dactylorhiza incarnata (L.) Soó subsp. ochroleuca
This plant hybridizes easily with species of different genera ( intergeneric hybridization). The list below shows some of these intergeneric hybrids (these hybrids are not always recognized by all botanists):
- ×Dactylodenia lawalreei P.Delforge & D.Tyteca, 1982 - hybrid with Gymnadenia odoratissima
- ×Dactylodenia st-quintinii (Godfery) J. Duvigneaud in De Langhe & al., 1983 - hybrid with Gymnadenia conopsea
- ×Dactyloglossum mixtum (Ascherson & Graebner) Rauschert, 1969 - hybrid with Coeloglossum viride
- ×Rhizanthera martysiensis Balayer, 1986 - hybrid with Platanthera chlorantha
The most frequent are
- Dactylorhiza maculata subsp Fuchsii (Druce ex Soó) Hyl., 1966
- Dactylorchis fuchsii (Druce) Verm., 1947
- Orchis fuchsii Druce, 1915 (basionimo)
- Orchis maculata var. meyeri Rchb.
The specific name honours the German scholar Leonhart Fuchs.