This, the first of our native orchids to flower each year, is still fairly widespread throughout the UK and Ireland. It is also present throughout much of Europe. It does better in calcareous substrates and can be found in woodland and grassland. In Wales, where we live, it is a great feature of our roadside verges in early spring.
The leaves are usually, but not always, dark spotted, and although purple is the most common colour you may occasionally find a white variant of this spring flower. The white sample shown below is from the Teifi Valley in West Wales.
Early-purple orchids bloom from April to June, and the specimens on this page were photographed in West Wales in April.
Watermarked preview (new window) of Photolibrary image OR169f_orchis_mascula.jpg (Large file)...
Watermarked preview (new window) of Photolibrary image OR170f_orchis_mascula.jpg (Large file)...