John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Dactylorhiza coccinea

D. coccinea was first described by Pugsley from Anglesey, Wales in 1884 at which time it was referred to as Orchis latifolia ssp coccinea. Pugsley then reclassified the plant as Dacylorhiza incarnata ssp coccinea  and in more recent times it has been accorded full species status, though this is not a view shared by all authorities, some of whom prefer retention of a subspecific position. The name "coccinea" refers to the
scarlet colouration of the flowers.

The distribution of this species is restricted to the Irish Sea coasts of Britain and Ireland where it is predominantly to be found growing in wet dune slacks and more rarely damp meadows. As with most species    in the genus, hybridization is frequent and introgression can often make certain identification rather  difficult. Typically however, the bright scarlet colouration tends to be retained, albeit in various degrees of dilution. In its pure form D. coccinea is a sturdy plant, growing to 30cms with flowers that are structurally close to those of D. incarnata and may be easily confused for D. incarnata ssp lobelii f dunensis which grows in identical conditions and is similarly coloured. This latter taxon, depicted in the final picture, is however a squatter plant, rarely more than 20cms, with broader, closely layered leaves that arch from the base of the stem. The flowers are however virtually indidistinguishable.
Although the species has such a limited and localised  distribution, it can be abundant in its preferred locations, where in some sand dune systems, particularly around the Welsh coastline, it can often be found in huge numbers, usually amongst equally large numbers of several other Dactylorhiza  species and the inevitable intermediate swarms. The pictures are from south Wales, dating from the first week of June.