Alexanders
  Alexanders
Annual Mercury
  Annual Mercury
Annual Wall-Rocket
  Annual Wall-Rocket
Bee Orchid
  Bee Orchid
Bell Heather
  Bell Heather
Bird's-Foot Trefoil
  Bird's-Foot Trefoil
Bird's-Nest Orchid
  Bird's-Nest Orchid
Biting Stonecrop
  Biting Stonecrop
Common Wintercress
  Common Wintercress
Black Bryony
  Black Bryony
Black Medick
  Black Medick
Bladder Campion
  Bladder Campion
Bloody Cranesbill
  Bloody Cranesbill
Blue Bugle
  Blue Bugle
English Bluebell
  English Bluebell
Brooklime
  Brooklime
Bulbous Buttercup
  Bulbous Buttercup
Burnet Rose
  Burnet Rose
Bush Vetch
  Bush Vetch
Cat's Ear
  Cat's Ear
Chalk Milkwort
  Chalk Milkwort
Changing Forget-Me-Not
  Changing Forget-Me-Not
Common Chickweed
  Common Chickweed
Cleavers
  Cleavers
Climbing Corydalis
  Climbing Corydalis
Columbine
  Columbine
Common Broom
  Common Broom
Russian Comfrey
  Russian Comfrey
Common Cornsalad
  Common Cornsalad
Common Fiddleneck
  Common Fiddleneck
Mouse-Ear Chickweed
  Mouse-Ear Chickweed
Common Spotted Orchid
  Common Spotted Orchid
Common Storksbill
  Common Storksbill
Common Vetch
  Common Vetch
Wall Speedwell
  Wall Speedwell
Cow Parsley
  Cow Parsley
Cowslip
  Cowslip
Creeping Buttercup
  Creeping Buttercup
Common Crosswort
  Common Crosswort
Cut-Leaved Cranesbill
  Cut-Leaved Cranesbill
Cypress Spurge
  Cypress Spurge
Common Daisy
  Common Daisy
Dame's Violet
  Dame's Violet
Common Dandelion
  Common Dandelion
Dog Rose
  Dog Rose
Dog's Mercury
  Dog's Mercury
Dove's-Foot Cranesbill
  Dove's-Foot Cranesbill
Dropwort
  Dropwort
Black Elderberry
  Black Elderberry
Fairy Flax
  Fairy Flax
Blue Field Madder
  Blue Field Madder
Field Poppy
  Field Poppy
Wood Forget-Me-Not
  Wood Forget-Me-Not
Common Fumitory
  Common Fumitory
Garlic Mustard
  Garlic Mustard
Germander Speedwell
  Germander Speedwell
Common Hogweed
  Common Hogweed
Common Gorse
  Common Gorse
Garden Grape-Hyacinth
  Garden Grape-Hyacinth
Greater Celandine
  Greater Celandine
Greater Periwinkle
  Greater Periwinkle
Greater Stitchwort
  Greater Stitchwort
Yellow Rattle
  Yellow Rattle
Green Alkanet
  Green Alkanet
Ground Ivy
  Ground Ivy
Common Groundsel
  Common Groundsel
Heath Speedwell
  Heath Speedwell
Common Hedge Mustard
  Common Hedge Mustard
Hedgerow Cranesbill
  Hedgerow Cranesbill
Hemlock Water Dropwort
  Hemlock Water Dropwort
Herb Robert
  Herb Robert
Hoary Cress
  Hoary Cress
Honesty
  Honesty
Horseradish
  Horseradish
Horseshoe Vetch
  Horseshoe Vetch
Ivy-Leaved Toadflax
  Ivy-Leaved Toadflax
Ivy-Leaved Speedwell
  Ivy-Leaved Speedwell
Jack-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon
  Jack-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon
Common Kidney Vetch
  Common Kidney Vetch
Cuckooflower
  Cuckooflower
Lesser Celandine
  Lesser Celandine
Lesser Periwinkle
  Lesser Periwinkle
Lesser Stitchwort
  Lesser Stitchwort
Man Orchid
  Man Orchid
Marsh Marigold
  Marsh Marigold
Meadow Buttercup
  Meadow Buttercup
Meadow Saxifrage
  Meadow Saxifrage
Meadow Vetchling
  Meadow Vetchling
Mind-Your-Own-Business
  Mind-Your-Own-Business
Monkshood
  Monkshood
Nottingham Catchfly
  Nottingham Catchfly
Oregon Grape
  Oregon Grape
Oxeye Daisy
  Oxeye Daisy
Oxford Ragwort
  Oxford Ragwort
Pheasant's Eye Narcissus
  Pheasant's Eye Narcissus
Pignut
  Pignut
Pineapple Mayweed
  Pineapple Mayweed
Pink Purslane
  Pink Purslane
Pink Sorrel
  Pink Sorrel
Prickly Sow Thistle
  Prickly Sow Thistle
Common Primrose
  Common Primrose
Procumbent Yellow Sorrel
  Procumbent Yellow Sorrel
Ragged-Robin
  Ragged-Robin
Ramsons
  Ramsons
Red Campion
  Red Campion
Red Clover
  Red Clover
Red Dead-Nettle
  Red Dead-Nettle
Grass Vetchling
  Grass Vetchling
Red Valerian
  Red Valerian
Ribwort Plantain
  Ribwort Plantain
Common Rock-Rose
  Common Rock-Rose
Rosy Garlic
  Rosy Garlic
Rough Hawkbit
  Rough Hawkbit
Beaked Hawksbeard
  Beaked Hawksbeard
Round-Leaved Cranesbill
  Round-Leaved Cranesbill
Rue-Leaved Saxifrage
  Rue-Leaved Saxifrage
Salad Burnet
  Salad Burnet
Wood Sanicle
  Wood Sanicle
Scarlet Pimpernel
  Scarlet Pimpernel
Wild Cabbage
  Wild Cabbage
Sea Kale
  Sea Kale
Sea Sandwort
  Sea Sandwort
Sheep's Sorrel
  Sheep's Sorrel
Shepherd's Purse
  Shepherd's Purse
Silverweed
  Silverweed
Slender Thistle
  Slender Thistle
Small Balsam
  Small Balsam
Smooth Sow Thistle
  Smooth Sow Thistle
Spotted Medick
  Spotted Medick
Stinging Nettle
  Stinging Nettle
Sweet Violet
  Sweet Violet
Sweet Woodruff
  Sweet Woodruff
Thyme-Leaved Speedwell
  Thyme-Leaved Speedwell
Hairy Tare
  Hairy Tare
Tormentil
  Tormentil
Common Twayblade
  Common Twayblade
Common Dog Violet
  Common Dog Violet
Wallflower
  Wallflower
Water Forget-Me-Not
  Water Forget-Me-Not
Watercress
  Watercress
Wavy Bittercress
  Wavy Bittercress
Welsh Poppy
  Welsh Poppy
White Bryony
  White Bryony
White Campion
  White Campion
White Comfrey
  White Comfrey
White Dead-Nettle
  White Dead-Nettle
White Helleborine
  White Helleborine
Wild Arum
  Wild Arum
Wild Mignonette
  Wild Mignonette
Woodland Strawberry
  Woodland Strawberry
Wild Thyme
  Wild Thyme
Winter Purslane
  Winter Purslane
Wood Anemone
  Wood Anemone
Wood Avens
  Wood Avens
Common Wood Sorrel
  Common Wood Sorrel
Wood Speedwell
  Wood Speedwell
Woody Nightshade
  Woody Nightshade
Yellow Archangel
  Yellow Archangel
Yellow Corydalis
  Yellow Corydalis
Yellow Pimpernel
  Yellow Pimpernel
Common Sorrel
  Common Sorrel
Common Comfrey
  Common Comfrey
Hairy Bittercress
  Hairy Bittercress
Petty Spurge
  Petty Spurge
Procumbent Pearlwort
  Procumbent Pearlwort
Charlock Mustard
  Charlock Mustard
Common Whitlowgrass
  Common Whitlowgrass
Sweet Violet (White)
  Sweet Violet (White)
Field Speedwell
  Field Speedwell
Sea Thrift
  Sea Thrift
Sheep's Bit Scabious
  Sheep's Bit Scabious
Spanish Bluebell
  Spanish Bluebell
Moschatel
  Moschatel
Summer Snowflake
  Summer Snowflake
Sun Spurge
  Sun Spurge
Lady Orchid
  Lady Orchid
Early Purple Orchid
  Early Purple Orchid
Green-Winged Orchid
  Green-Winged Orchid
Early Marsh Orchid
  Early Marsh Orchid
Southern Marsh Orchid
  Southern Marsh Orchid
Heath Spotted Orchid
  Heath Spotted Orchid
Broad Bean
  Broad Bean
Common Milkwort
  Common Milkwort
Bedstraw Broomrape
  Bedstraw Broomrape
Bur Chervil
  Bur Chervil
Early Forget-Me-Not
  Early Forget-Me-Not
Monkey Orchid
  Monkey Orchid
Fly Orchid
  Fly Orchid
Wood Spurge
  Wood Spurge
Hoary Plantain
  Hoary Plantain
Shining Cranesbill
  Shining Cranesbill
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  Spring Squill
Sea Campion
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Sticky Storksbill
  Sticky Storksbill
Filters:

Early Purple Orchid Orchis mascula 

 
 
Attracts BeesBees are attracted to this plant
Attracts Wasps
Attracts ButterfliesButterflies are attracted to this plant
Attracts BeetlesBeetles are attracted to this plant
Perennial Life CyclePerennial life cycle
Orchid-Like FlowersOrchid-like flowers
Purple FlowersPurple flowers
6 Petals6 petals
Apr-Jun Flowering
period
Elongated LeavesElongated leaves
Smooth-Edged LeavesSmooth-edged leaves
Round StemRound stem
Fibrous RootsFibrous roots
40cmMaximum height
 
 
  Main image of Early Purple Orchid
© 2021 Adrian Briggs
 

Early Purple Orchid is a native perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in woodland, chalk grassland and damp areas, to a mature height of up to 40cm.

As the name suggests, the Early Purple Orchid is one of the first orchids to flower. Despite having flower spurs, which are usually provided to hold nectar for long-tongued pollinators, in the Early Purple Orchid these are without nectar. This type of spur is an instance of mimickry and has the effect of attracting pollinators without expending energy producing nectar. The Early Purple Orchid is distinguished from other orchids by its: flower colour, which is usually purple or magenta (but may be lilac or white); flower shape, with three broad distinct lobes to the lower lip and long, curved and upturned spurs; flower spots, which are either sparse or absent; flower scent, which is initially fragrant, but becomes unpleasant as the flower ages; and the presence of glossy, spotted leaves (although spots are sometimes absent).

Botanic classification and naming: Early Purple Orchid is a member of the Orchid (Orchidaceae) family. The genus name 'Orchis' identifies the plant as a Orchid with paired tubers resembling 'testicles' and its species name 'mascula' means 'male (testicular tubers)'.

Concerns: Orchids, like wild flowers in general, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) from being removed from the wild. Rare orchids such as the Early Spider Orchid, Monkey Orchid and Lady's Slipper Orchid are additionally protected from picking and damage. The Early Purple Orchid is found widely distributed across the UK.

Benefits: Early Purple Orchid does not produce nectar but attracts pollinating insects (such as Bumble bees, wasps, butterflies and beetles), by its bright flowers, scent and mimicking flowers that produce nectar.

Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.

 

 
Flower of Early Purple Orchid

© 2021 Adrian Briggs

 

Flowers:
Early Purple Orchid usually flowers between April and June.

Flower colour:

Flower Colour Purple

Purple

Flower shape:

Flower Shape  Orchid-like

Orchid-like

Petals:

Petal Number =  6

6

Leaf of Early Purple Orchid

© 2021 Adrian Briggs

 

Leaves:

Leaf Shape:

Leaf Shape is Elongated

Elongated

Or:

Alternative Leaf Shape is Oval

Oval

Leaf Margins:

Leaf Margin is smooth

smooth

Stem of Early Purple Orchid

© 2021 Adrian Briggs

 

Stem and Roots:

Stem shape:

Stem Shape is Round

Round

Root type:

Root Type is Fibrous

Fibrous