Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
Dactylorhiza maculata subsp ericetorum
Gaelic name: Mogairlean Mòintich
These pages will develop into full details later in the year, but for quick identification purposes, there are two main orchid species with a white or pink colour like this, the Heath-spotted orchid and the Hebridean-spotted orchid.
The heath-spotted orchid likes moorland, acid soil, so if you are on sandy machair soil looking at a pale pinkish orchid and there are no tormentil growing within the same area, you are probably looking at a hebridean spotted-orchid. (or a hybrid species that has some Hebridean spotted-orchid in it).
If there is tormentil growing within the same area, you are probably looking at a heath spotted-orchid. (or a hybrid species that has some heath-spotted orchid in it).
The orchids in the photographs above are growing on peaty moorland.
(We have a page where the heath spotted-orchid and the Hebridean spotted-orchid identification notes are compared side by side).
Heath Spotted-orchid notes
||Dactylorhiza maculata subsp ericetorum
|Pale Colour Orchids (Pinkish)
Pale pink, lilac, white almost mauve sometimes
Flowerhead dense, pyramidal-shaped or oblong
Often in groups
|Usual height in Western Isles
||10cm to 25cm tall
||Generally found on acid peat moorland, damp pastures (sometimes on machair) - does not like it's feet wet
Found up to 900m
Bottom part of the flower broad
Shallowly 3-lobed with a short triangular central indentation, called the "tooth" (sometimes extending outward a little) wavy-edged (frilly not toothed!)
Markings purple or red dots and lines (not circles)
|Leaves and stem
Stem slightly ridged
5 -12 Erect leaves narrow and pointed, spaced along the stem
lightly marked with spots, circles
Sometimes no spots
|Modified leaves behind the floral envelopes
Narrow and pointed
Lower shorter than and the upper ones longer than the flowers
|Spur on the back of the florets
All the Spotted-orchid family - Straight, slim, parallel sided
Pointing downward -
about three-quarters the length of the ovary (ovary attaches floret to plant)
Heath spotted-orchid x Hebridean spotted-orchid
D. x transiens
x Northern Marsh-orchid
D. x venusta
x Early Marsh-orchid
D. x kerniorum
Heath-spotted Orchid is a native plant of the Western Isles.
All orchids are protected by law.
Photography © Suzanne Harris
Uig and Great Bernera - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
17 - 23 June, 2007
Flowers By Colours:
blue or purplish
orchid ID notes
Colour of the season
May 27th Lush Green!
June 11th White
June 25th Pink