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 fuchii subsp. hebridensis
Gaelic name: Urach-bhallach
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 orchid in the photograph above is growing on sandy machair soil.
(We have a page where the heath spotted-orchid and the Hebridean spotted-orchid identification notes are compared side by side).
Hebridean Spotted-orchid notes
||Dactylorhiza fuchii subsp. hebridensis
|Pale Colour Orchids (Pinkish)
Pale pink, lilac,
sometimes white or dark reddish-purple tinged
Flowerhead dense, pyramidal-shaped or oblong
Often in groups
|Usual height in Western Isles
||10cm to 25cm tall
||Only on dunes, machair and damp meadows (usually near the sea)
Bottom part of the flower deeply 3-lobed with angular shaped lobes and with the central lobe considerably longer than the other two
|Leaves and stem
7 -12 leaves spreading to downcurved
Rounded to elliptical, spaced along the stem
Upper leaves smaller, almost not a proper leaf
|Modified leaves behind the floral envelopes
|Spur on the back of the florets
All the Spotted-orchid family - Straight, slim, parallel sided
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.
Photographs © Suzanne Harris
Great Bernera - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
23rd May, 2006
Flowers By Colours:
blue or purplish
orchid ID notes
Colour of the season
May 27th Lush Green!
June 11th White
June 25th Pink