Dactylorhiza, Marsh-orchids and Spotted-orchids

   Remarks to the offered plants:

Dactylorhiza incarnata ssp. hyphaematodes: The leaves are redish on both sides. This extrordinary form occurs usually together with normal green plants. However, red leaved plants are more common than normal green plants within a given population. Seeds from a single capsule resulted in 76,5% red leaved and 23,5% green leaved plants..

Dactylorhiza purpurella "Palmengarten".

This D. purpurella-hybrid is medium tall and dark purpur. Forms groups after a few years. All Dactylorhiza-hybrids are totally hardy and grow well in ordinary garden soil.

Dactylorhiza purpurella "Inverness". These plants are compact and stay short. Group forming.Very similar to the natural species. Easy in culture.


Dactylorhiza is a large genus of more than 50 species. Distributed in the northern hemisphere from Europe to Alaska. Naturalised in some areas in North America. Several centers of diversivication e. g. the European Alps, Scandinavia and Baltics, temperate Anatolia and Caucasus, and the British Isles.

Flower stems 10 to 100cm high, with cauline leaves. Dactylorhiza has small to medium sized, numerous flowers. A spur is always present on the labellum. The perianth segments spread or form a hood. All species are insect pollinating. Tubers are digitate fingerlike and transform into roots. There are also roots on top of the tubers. The section around D. sambucina has more rounded, only shortly digitate tubers.

Most Dactylorhizas are very easy to culture. Generally prefering sunny places or partial shade for woodland species. D. sambucina and similar species prefer fresh soil conditions in spring and dryer conditions in summer. The other species like to grow in freh to wet soils throughout spring and summer. With exception of the mediterranean species and D. foliosa from Madeira all species are very frost hardy. Regular watering during the growing period is essential for pot culture. Fertilize regularly with 0.2g/l in poor soils or pot culture in spring and summer. Avoid soggy conditions during dormancy in winter. Dactylorhizas generally should be grown outside, planted in the garden, if possible.

Recommended potting mixes:
Substrates should be well draining  with a good water capacity and a pH of about 6 to 7. Most commercially available potting mixes are suitable.

Further reading:
Orchids of Britain & Europe
. Pierre Delforge, 1995. Collins Photo Guide. ISBN 0 00  2200244.
Orchideen im Garten: Verwendung, Pflege und Vermehrung. Gerd Kohls und Ulrich Kähler, 1993.Parey, ISBN 3 489 636244.
Orchideen für den Garten: Europäische und tropische Erdorchideen. Alfons Bürger, 1992.  Ulmer, ISBN 3 8001 64876.
Das Moor im eigenen Garten: Moorgärten anlegen,gestalten und pflegen. Erich Maier, 2000. Parey, ISBN 3 8263 3301 2.
Hardy orchids. Phillip Cribb and Christopher Bailes, 1989. Timber Pr. ISBN 0 88192 147 5.
Die Orchideen Mitteleuropas und der Alpen. Presser Helmut, 1995. ecomed, ISBN 3 609 65600 X.


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