Orchis purpurea

Orchis purpurea
This is the native Lady Orchid which only grows in a few sites in the south of England. It grows in chalky areas and but is found exclusively in woodlands in England. It is found in more open environments from Denmark to Italy. The Lady Orchid grows up to 80 cm tall and has a basal rosette 3 - 8 large erect leaves which are glossy green and unmarked. The flower spikes of the Lady Orchid can contain anything up to 200 individual flowers. The upper sepals and petals from a dark red hood above the lip of the flower which is white and strongly marked with deep red. The shape and markings of the lips of Orchis purpurea are extremely variable but there is no mistaking a Lady Orchid when you have found one - its sheer size and vivid white and dark red flowers confirm that it is unlikely to be anything else.

It is not an easy orchid to grow in an alpine house, needing careful watering to avoid the possibility of neck rot occuring particularly in November or February if there is insufficient air movement.

Tubers are sent out potted when dormant. With this species usually from AUGUST to JANUARY but the amount of growth may prevent this.


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