Dactylorhiza purpurella

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaOrchidaceaeDactylorhizaDactylorhiza purpurella


A tuberous perennial herb of neutral to base-rich soils, occurring in dune-slacks, fens, marshes, wet meadows, flushes, ditches and on roadside verges. It is also frequent in old quarries and urban waste land, where it can colonise drier sites such as rubble, and it occasionally grows in neglected gardens. 0-610 m (Creag Dhuba, Loch Ericht, Westerness).



World Distribution

Oceanic Boreal-montane element.

© K.J. Walker, BSBI

Broad Habitats

Fen, marsh and swamp (not wooded)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 8

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 1

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.1

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1244

Life form information

Height (cm): 25

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1202

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 151

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: 0.47

Weighted Changed Factor: 0

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (341d)
Allan B, Woods P
1993.  Wild orchids of Scotland.
Bateman & Denholm (1983a)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Sell P [D ], Murrell G
1996.  Flora of Great Britain and Ireland, 5. Butomaceae-Orchidaceae.