Alphabetical Plant Listing

Dactylorhiza majalis (Western Marsh Orchid)

Western Marsh Orchid, Broad-Leaved Marsh Orchid, Fan Orchid


Dactylorhiza majalis (Western Marsh Orchid) is a tuberous terrestrial orchid boasting beautiful spikes densely packed with up to 50 purple flowers with white markings. Blooming from late spring to mid summer, they are borne atop a hollow stem, the lowest blossoms usually opening even before the stem has reached its full height. The foliage of 4 to 10 fleshy, ovate, green leaves is almost always adorned with burgundy blotches. The spotted leaves are distributed on the stem. In the fall, the foliage yellows, then fades before disappearing completely for the winter dormancy period. Dactylorhiza majalis can form impressively large colonies in optimum growing conditions. Western Marsh Orchid is native to damp or wet conditions in meadows, heaths, marshes and along streambanks in both lowland and alpine sites to 6500’ in elevation from Ireland to northern Spain east through southern Sweden, the Dolomites in Italy and the mountains of central and eastern Europe into Russia. Despite its marshy natural environment, this orchid does well in evenly moist garden soils.

  • Grows up to 6-18 in. tall (15-45 cm) and 6-12 in. wide (15-30 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade in moist, humusy, well-drained soils. Prefers part shade in hot and humid summer climates.
  • A charming addition to woodland gardens, prairies and meadows, wet grassland areas or near ponds and streams.
  • Propagate by division of tubers.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Dactylorhiza majalis is widespread across much of Europe and north-central Asia from Spain and Ireland to Siberia and Kazakhstan.

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Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 8
Plant Type Orchids, Perennials
Plant Family Dactylorhiza - Marsh Orchids
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 6" – 2' (15cm – 60cm)
Spread 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow

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Lubomir Dajc, Nerycom, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 8
Plant Type Orchids, Perennials
Plant Family Dactylorhiza - Marsh Orchids
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 6" – 2' (15cm – 60cm)
Spread 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow

Guides with Dactylorhiza - Marsh Orchids

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