John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Dactylorhiza praetermissa


This species was first described by Druce from Southern England in 1914 and was originally named Orchis praetermissa. Its name means "neglected".

D. praetermissa is basically a plant of the North Sea and English Channel coasts and is probably at its
most frequent in the dune systems of the south of England and Wales. In Britain the species is gradually replaced as it travels northwards by D. purpurella, although there is a significant overlap in range and
there are several areas (notably in Wales) where the two species can be found growing side by side. The range of D. praetermissa includes the Low Countries, Denmark, northern and central France as far east as s Germany.  Its preferred habitat is wet dune slacks but it can also be found in both neutral fens, and damp meadows and surprisingly, though rarely, short calcareous grassland.  The precise limits of its
distribution are uncertain due to the species enthusiasm for gene sharing and consequent confusion over
identity.

This is an extremely variable, polymorphic species which is frequently introgressed by other members
of the genus and particularly D. maculata  and D. fuchsii.  In its typical form it's a robust orchid with
a hollow stem that's compressible when gently squeezed. The strongly keeled leaves are usually unspotted  (except in variety junialis) and form a fan at the base. Flower colouration varies from pale lilac to dark pink and lip markings are normally relatively subtle spots or stripes.  Where these markings appear more extravagent the possibility of introgression should be considered.

The photographs are from Braunton Burrows, Somerset and Kenfig, Glamorgan, dating from the end of
May to the middle of June.