John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
Home Back to Dactylorhiza species Links

  Dactylorhiza traunsteinerioides

D. traunsteinierioides was first described from Wicklow, Ireland in 1936 by Pugsley and is a member of the D. traunsteineri group of Dactylorhiza. It is known by several synonyms, most commonly as Pugsley's, Wicklow or Narrow leaved Marsh Orchid.

This is a naturally variable orchid and one which in many areas has become heavily introgressed by other species of its genus and notably D. praetermissa. Its distribution is limited to Britain, Ireland and France, though a recent study by Bateman and Denholm concluded that English populations below a line from the Severn to the Wash, that may once have conformed to type at some point (possibly even recently), had been so introgressed by the more robust D. praetermissa that the plants retained little of their traunsteinieroides identity. The study reveals that these populations display a DNA profile that accords most closely to D. praetermissa and exhibit little of their former D. traunsteinerioides identity. In view of this they have been reclassified as D. praetermissa ssp shoenofila.

D. traunsteinioroides is a rare orchid found primarily in neutral to alkaline fens and often growing among rushes in standing water. As already mentioned, it is variable but typically pale flowered, short, slender and with narrow, unspotted leaves. The leaves may however be lightly spotted and in Britain this feature becomes more pronounced in northerly areas of its range. In Scotland the heavily marked plants and those formerly considered D. lapponica are now reclassified as D. traunsteinerioides ssp francis-drucei.

The illustrations are from north Wales and date from the first week of June.