Dactylorhiza incarnata plate
Dactylorhiza incarnata from Orchideen Deutschland

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Orchideae
SubTribe: Orchidinae
Genus: Dactylorhiza
Necker ex Nevski 1937
Type Species
Dactylorhiza umbrosa

Dactylorhiza abbreviated as Dact. in horticultural trade, is a genus of terrestrial (ground-dwelling) plants in the orchid family (Orchidaceae).


These orchids are distributed throughout the subarctic and temperate northern hemisphere : in Europe, from Scandinavia to North Africa; also on Madeira, Iceland, West Asia, North Asia, the Himalayas, North America and even in Alaska.

These terrestrial orchids grow in basic soils in wet meadows, bogs, heathland and in areas sparsely populated by trees. They are tuberous geophytes. In a thickened underground stem, they can store a large amount of water to survive arid conditions.


The long leaves are lanceolate and, in most species, also speckled. They grow along a rather long stem which reaches a height of 70-90 cm. Leaves higher on the stem are shorter than leaves lower on the stem.

The inflorescence, compared to the length of the plant, is rather short. It consists of a compact raceme with 25-50 flowers. These develop from axillary buds. The dominant colors are all shades of pink to red, sprinkled with darker speckles.

Many 'species' in this genus hybridize so readily that species boundaries themselves are vague, with regular name changes and no clear answers. A few species colonize very well onto fresh industrial wastes such as pulverized fuel ash, where vast hybrid swarms can appear for a decade or more, before ecological succession replaces them.


Grow in moderate lighting. Plant grows in cool to cold temperatures and should be water regularly during growing season and reduced during flowering. Reduce watering during dormancy period in the winter and mist occasionally. Pot with 70% fine to medium grade perlite or clay and 30% soil, peat.


The name Dactylorhiza is derived from Greek words δάκτυλος "daktylos" (finger) and ρίζα "rhiza" (root), referring to the palmately two- to five-lobed tubers of this genus. Dactylorhiza were previously classified under Orchis which has two round tubers


  1. Dactylorchis (Klinge) Vermeulen 1947


  • Dactylorhiza alpestris : Alpine Dactylorhiza (Pyrenees, Alps, Carpathians).
  • Dactylorhiza angustata (France).
  • Dactylorhiza aristata : Keyflower (E. China to Alaska).
    • Dactylorhiza aristata var. aristata : Keyflower (E. China to Alaska).
    • Dactylorhiza aristata var. kodiakensis : Kodiak Keyflower (Aleutian Is. to SW. Alaska).
  • Dactylorhiza armeniaca (Turkey) - has become synonym of Dactylorhiza euxina subsp. armeniaca (Hedrén) Kreutz
  • Dactylorhiza atlantica Kreutz & Vlaciha (Morocco)
  • Dactylorhiza baldshuanica (C. Asia).
  • Dactylorhiza baltica (Eastern Europe) (synonym of Dactylorhiza longifolia (Neuman) Aver.)
  • Dactylorhiza baumanniana (N. Greece).
    • Dactylorhiza baumanniana subsp. smolikana (B. Willing & E. Willing) H. Baumann & R. Lorenz (Greece)
  • Dactylorhiza bohemica (EC. Europe).
  • Dactylorhiza cordigera (Fr.) Soó (SE. Europe to Ukraine).
    • Dactylorhiza cordigera subsp. bosniaca (N. Balkan Pen).
    • Dactylorhiza cordigera subsp. cordigera (SE. Europe to Ukraine).
    • Dactylorhiza cordigera var. graeca (H.Baumann) Presser)
    • Dactylorhiza cordigera subsp. pindica (B. Willing & E. Willing) H. Baumann & R. Lorenz (NW. Greece).
    • Dactylorhiza cordigera var. rhodopeia Presser (Greece, Southeastern Europe, Europe)
    • Dactylorhiza cordigera subsp. siculorum (Romania to W. Ukraine).
  • Dactylorhiza czerniakowskae (C. Asia).
  • Dactylorhiza ebudensis (Wief. ex R.M. Bateman & Denholm) P. Delforge : Hebridean Marsh Orchid
  • Dactylorhiza elata (Poir.) Soó : Stately Dactylorhiza (W. Europe to NW. Africa).
    • Dactylorhiza elata subsp. ambigua (Martrin-Donos) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza elata subsp. brennensis (W. Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza elata subsp. elata (NW. Africa.
    • Dactylorhiza elata subsp. mauritanica B.Baumann & H. Baumann (Morocco, Algeria)
    • Dactylorhiza elata subsp. sesquipedalis (SW. Europe to Sicilia).
  • Dactylorhiza euxina (Nevski) Czerep.
    • Dactylorhiza euxina subsp. armeniaca (Hedrén) Kreutz
  • Dactylorhiza flavescens (Turkey to C. Asia).
  • Dactylorhiza foliosa : Richly-leaved Dactylorhiza (Madeira).
  • Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Druce) Soó  : Common Spotted Orchid, Fuch's Dactylorhiza (Europe to Siberia).
    • Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. carpatica (Batousek & Kreutz) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. fuchsii (Europe to Siberia).
    • Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. hebridensis (W. Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. meyeri (Rchb.f.) Kulikov & E.G.Philippov
    • Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. okellyi (Ireland, W. Great Britain).
    • Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. psychrophila (Europe to Siberia).
    • Dactylorhiza fuchsii var. sooana (Borsos) Kreutz (Hungary)
    • Dactylorhiza fuchsii var. sudetica (Poech ex Rchb.f.) H.Baumann
  • Dactylorhiza gervasiana (Sicilia to S. Italy).
  • Dactylorhiza graeca (N. Greece) - has become synonym of Dactylorhiza cordigera var. graeca (H.Baumann) Presser)
  • Dactylorhiza graggeriana (W. Himalaya).
  • Dactylorhiza hatagirea (Pakistan to SE. Tibet).
  • Dactylorhiza iberica (Greece to Iran).
  • Dactylorhiza ilgazica (N. Turkey) - now synonym of Dactylorhiza urvilleana subsp. ilgazica (Kreutz) Kreutz
  • Dactylorhiza incarnata (L.) Soó  : Early Marsh Orchid
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata var. baumgartneriana (B.Baumann, H.Baumann, R.Lorenz & Ruedi Peter) P.Delforge
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. coccinea
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. cruenta (Europe to Turkey).
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. gemmana (W. Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. incarnata (Europe to Mongolia).
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata nothosubsp. krylovii (W. Europe to Siberia).
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. lobelii (Norway to The Netherlands).
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. ochroleuca (Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. pulchella (Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza incarnata nothosubsp. versicolor (Europe)
  • Dactylorhiza insularis : Island Dactylorhiza (W. Medit. to WC. Italy).
  • Dactylorhiza kafiriana (NE. Afghanistan to W. Himalaya).
  • Dactylorhiza kalopissii E.Nelson (N. Greece).
    • Dactylorhiza kalopissii subsp. macedonica (J.Hölzinger & Künkele) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza kalopissii subsp. pythagorae (Gölz & H.R.Reinhard) Kreutz
  • Dactylorhiza kulikalonica (C. Asia).
  • Dactylorhiza lapponica (Laest.ex Hartm.) Soó (N. Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza lapponica subsp. angustata (Arv.-Touv.) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza lapponica subsp. rhaetica H. Baumann & R. Lorenz (Alps of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France)
  • Dactylorhiza lapponica subsp. russowii (Klinge) H. Baumann & R. Lorenz (C. Europe to Siberia).
  • Dactylorhiza libanotica (Lebanon)
  • Dactylorhiza longifolia (Europe to C. Asia).
  • Dactylorhiza macedonica (N. Greece) - now a synonym of Dactylorhiza kalopissii subsp. macedonica (J.Hölzinger & Künkele) Kreutz
  • Dactylorhiza maculata (L.) Soó : Heath Spotted Orchid, Moorland Spotted Orchid (NW. Africa, Europe to Siberia).
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. battandieri (N. Algeria).
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. caramulensis (W. Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. elodes (Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. ericetorum : Heath Spotted Orchid (W. Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. islandica (Iceland).
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. kolaensis (Montell) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. maculata (Europe to Siberia).
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. maurusia (Morocco)
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. podesta (Netherlands).
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. rhoumensis (Great Britain)
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. savogiensis (D.Tyteca & Gathoye) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. schurii (Carpathians).
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. sennia (Vollmar) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. transsilvanica (SC. & SE. Europe).
  • Dactylorhiza magna (C. Asia).
  • Dactylorhiza majalis (Rchb.) P.F.Hunt & Summerh.  : Broad-leaved Marsh Orchid, Western Marsh Orchid, Fan Orchid, Common Marsh Orchid (Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza majalis var. brevifolia (Rchb.f.) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. calcifugiens (Denmark)
    • Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. cambrensis (Coastal Great Britain and Denmark) (now synonym of Dactylorhiza purpurella (T.Stephenson & T.A.Stephenson) Soó var. cambrensis (R.H.Roberts) R.M.Bateman & Denholm 2005)
    • Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. majalis (Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. occidentalis (W. & SW. Ireland, N. Great Britain).
    • Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. parvimajalis (D.Tyteca & Gathoye) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. purpurella : Early Marsh Orchid, Northern Marsh Orchid (NW. Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. sphagnicola
    • Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. turfosa (Alps to W. Carpathians) - has become a synonym of Dactylorhiza traunsteineri subsp. turfosa (F.Proch.) Kreutz
  • Dactylorhiza markusii : Markus' Dactylorhiza (N. Portugal to W. Spain and Italy).
  • Dactylorhiza nieschalkiorum (N. Turkey).
  • Dactylorhiza occidentalis (Pugsley) P. Delforge : Irish Marsh Orchid
  • Dactylorhiza osmanica (Turkey to Syria).
    • Dactylorhiza osmanica var. anatolica (Turkey).
    • Dactylorhiza osmanica var. osmanica (Turkey to Syria).
  • Dactylorhiza pindica (NW. Greece).
  • Dactylorhiza praetermissa : Leopard Marsh Orchid, Southern Marsh Orchid (W. & NW. Europe)
  • Dactylorhiza purpurella (T.Stephenson & T.A.Stephenson) Soó : Northern Marsh Orchid (Great Britain, Ireland).
    • Dactylorhiza purpurella var. maculosa (T. Stephenson)
    • Dactylorhiza purpurella var. purpurella
    • Dactylorhiza purpurella var. cambrensis (R.H.Roberts) R.M.Bateman & Denholm 2005
  • Dactylorhiza pythagorae (E. Aegean Is.) - now a synonym of Dactylorhiza kalopissii subsp. pythagorae (Gölz & H.R.Reinhard) Kreutz
  • Dactylorhiza romana : Roman Dactylorhiza (Mediterranean)
  • Dactylorhiza saccifera (Brongn.) Soó  : Sack-carrying Dactylorhiza (Mediterranean).
    • Dactylorhiza saccifera subsp. bithynica (H.Baumann) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza saccifera subsp. gervasiana (Tod.) Kreutz
  • Dactylorhiza salina (Caucasus to Amur)
  • Dactylorhiza sambucina : Elder-flowered Orchid (Europe).
  • Dactylorhiza sudetica (Europe to Siberia)
  • Dactylorhiza traunsteineri (Saut. ex Rchb.) Soó : Narrow-leaved Marsh Orchid, Traunstein's Dactylorhiza (Europe to W. Siberia).
    • Dactylorhiza traunsteineri subsp. carpatica (Slovakia) - has become synonym of Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. carpatica (Batousek & Kreutz) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza traunsteineri subsp. turfosa (F.Proch.) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza traunsteineri subsp. 'curvifolia' (N. & NE. Europe).
    • Dactylorhiza traunsteineri subsp. traunsteineri (Europe to W. Siberia).
    • Dactylorhiza traunsteineri subsp. wirtgenii (Höppner) Kreutz
    • Dactylorhiza traunsteinerioides]] (Pugsley)Landwehr (synonym of Dactylorhiza traunsteineri subsp. traunsteineri)
  • Dactylorhiza umbrosa (W. & C. Asia to Siberia)
  • Dactylorhiza urvilleana (Steud.) H.Baumann & Künkele (N. & NE. Turkey to Iran)
    • Dactylorhiza urvilleana subsp. bithynica (H.Baumann) H. Baumann & R. Lorenz
    • Dactylorhiza urvilleana subsp. phoenissa B. Baumann & H. Baumann (Lebanon)
    • Dactylorhiza urvilleana subsp. ilgazica (Kreutz) Kreutz

Natural HybridsEdit


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External linksEdit

CulturesheetsDactylorhiza at

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