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Dactylorhiza okellyi
 

D. okellyi was first described from Co Clare (Ireland) in 1909 and was named in honour of the noted Irish   botanist P. O'Kelly. It is a member of the D. maculata group of Dachtylorhiza and one which has created a great deal of disagreement amongst botanists.

Distinguishing this species from albiflora forms of D. fucshii is difficult and although there have been several thorough studies, a definitive, widely accepted description still seems to be awaited. The distribution of D. okellyii is unclear but the species is known with certainty from the west coasts of both Ireland and Scotland, most famously the Burren, an area of limestone pavement in the south west of Ireland.

It is evident that D. okellyii is a taxon lacking the purple pigment anthocyanin but equally that this is not a definitive factor as some examples can exhibit both a degree of feint labellum marking and light spotting to the leaves. Given that the species is seldom found in isolation from more conventionally marked D. fucshii, it is reasonable to assume that the principle of clinal variation is in process. Pat O'Reilly and Sue Parker (Wild Orchids in the Burren, 2007) make the valid observation that albiflora plants found in groups are more likely to be D. okellyii than those found singly. It should be mentioned, that the plants depicted here were single plants.

Another recognized characteristic of D. okellyii is the labellum and the way in which it's lobes are deeply divided and in overall dimensions, significantly narrower as compared to D. fucshii. This produces a distinctive plant, with an apparently loose inflorescence atop a slender, often tall stem.