From the often-boggy, mostly acid grasslands at Aberbargoed direct to your screens, this week’s native British orchid is the appropriately named Heath spotted-orchid (remember, the spotted part of that name refers to the marks on its leaves, not its petals). Its scientific name is Dactylorhiza maculata, which the Plantlife website explains as follows: ‘The genus name Dactylorhiza is formed from the Greek words daktylos meaning finger and rhiza meaning root’ – so, this orchid has a multi-fingered root, rather than a single tuber. And maculata means spotted – those leaves.
As you can see from the flower spikes below, this is another orchid with some variation in both its colours, which range from white through pink to pale purple, and its markings, which, though they look spotted from a distance, actually have various combinations of streaks and little loops. The shape of the petals is also distinctive, the lower one in particular is less deeply lobed than, for example, the Common spotted-orchid, which the Heath spotted does superficially resemble.