Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. okellyi - O'kelly's Spotted-orchid

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae

Dactylorhiza okellyi

Patrick O'Kelly, after whom this orchid was named, lived in The Burren and devoted much of his time to the study of the wildflowers growing there. After his death in 1937 he was buried in the graveyard at Dumcreedy Church, close to Ballyvaughan.

This controversial orchid is treated as a separate species by some botanists and by some as an indeterminate variety of Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii.

O'Kelly's Orchid is common throughout The Burren and reaches its peak flowering time in June and early July


O'Kelly's Orchid grows to between 20-50 cm buttaller specimens sometimes occur. The leaves are narrower than those of Common Spotted-orchid and are not marked. The flowers are often completely white although some have faint pink markings.

Dactylorhiza okellyi


Although mainly associated with The Burren this orchid occurs in several other counties of Ireland including Galway and Fermanagh as well as in Scotland and on the Isle of Man.


O'Kelly's Orchid grows in the unimproved limestone meadows of The Burren but sometimes ventures into marshier areas there too.

Flowering times

Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. Okellyi flowers in May and June.

Reference sources

The Plant List

Anne and Simon Harrap (2005) Orchids of Britain and Ireland; A&C Black

Pierre Delforge (2005) Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East; A&C Black

If you found this information helpful, we are sure you would also like books on the Wild Orchids of Wales, of The Burren, and of the Algarve. Author-signed copies are available here...

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