Common spotted-orchid

Common Spotted-orchid

©Philip Precey

Common Spotted-orchid

©Paul Lane

Common Spotted-orchid

©Amy Lewis

Common spotted-orchid

Scientific name: Dactylorhiza fuchsii
The common spotted-orchid is the easiest of all our orchids to see: sometimes, so many flowers appear together that they create a pale pink carpet in our woodlands, old quarries, dunes and marshes.

Species information


Height: up to 60cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to August


The common spotted-orchid is the most common of all UK orchids and the one you are most likely to see. It grows in many different habitats, including woodland, roadside verges, hedgerows, old quarries, sand dunes and marshes; sometimes so many flowers appear together that they carpet an area with their delicate, pale pink spikes. It is in bloom between June and August.

How to identify

The common spotted-orchid gets its name from its leaves, which are green with many purple, oval spots. They form a rosette at ground level before the flower spike appears; narrower leaves sheath the stem. The flowers range from white and pale pink, through to purple, but have distinctive darker pink spots and stripes on their three-lobed lips. The flowers are densely packed in short, cone-shaped clusters.



Did you know?

The highly perfumed flowers of the common spotted-orchid are particularly attractive to day-flying moths.