John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Gymnadenia conopsea x Dactylorhiza purpurella

This is an extremely uncommon hybrid arising from the crossing of Gymnadenia conopsea (Fragrant Orchid) and Dactylorhiza purpurella (Northern Marsh Orchid) that has been formally named and recognized as X Dactylodenia varia (T & T.A Stephenson) Averyanov.

It may occur wherever the two parent species grow in close association but given the more limited north western European range of D. purpurella the opportunity for hybridization is largely limited to Britain, Holland and the Scandinavian countries. In Britain it has been recorded in small numbers from North Wales, Northern
England and Scotland, with just a single record from Northern Ireland. The discovery late in the last century of of D. purpurella in the dune systems of South Wales where G. conopsea also thrives, seems certain to produce occurences of this hybrid further south.

The plant depicted here has inherited its primary morphological characteristics from the Gymnadenia side of its parentage but this is not always so and simply points to the seed parent being Gymnadenia. Plants with this parental sequence retain more of the seed parent identity than those of the pollen provider.

This photograph dates from early July and comes from a damp roadside bank in Cumbria, England.