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Early Purple Orchid

Orchis mascula

Plant Data

Order:
Asparagales
Family:
Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Type:
Flower
Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC

Flower:
֍
Purple, 2 petals
 
Loose flower spike of some shade of purple, occasionally pink or white. The hood of the flower consists of 2 petals and 1 sepal and 2 other sepals bend back against one another. The lip of the flower is slightly curved and lobed.
Fruit:
A cylindrical seed capsule, filled with a very numerous number of minute dust-like seeds.
Leaves:
Undivided, untoothed, linear leaves. Blotched purplish-black.
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Foraging Notes:
The roots can be cooked and eaten. They are a source of 'salep' which is very nutritious. Salep is pale yellow and can be ground down into a powder. It smells unpleasant but has a sweet taste.
Never consume a wild plant unless you are 100% certain that it is safe to eat and you know that you have identified it correctly.
Aroma:
Unpleasant, smells of tom-cats.
Other Names:
Dead Man's Fingers, Male Orchis, Salep Orchid.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen
Habitats:
Grassland, scrub, woodland.
Similar Species: