Northern Marsh Orchid
Dactylorhiza purpurella


Beautiful, perennial plants, the northern and southern marsh orchids can be found on the wetlands, but are generally only seen on our guided walks, which give you exclusive access to remote parts of the reserve.

The northern marsh orchid can only survive - as the name suggests – in the north of the UK. Meanwhile, the southern marsh orchid can tolerate drier climes and is therefore more widespread.

These orchids are notoriously difficult to identify as they cross-pollinate with one another (and other marsh orchids).

Did you know that all wild orchids are protected by law! So, if you see them in the wild (or on the wetlands!), don’t be tempted to pick one to take home.

Northern Marsh Orchid facts and statistics

• Native to Great Britain
• Pollinated by insects and butterflies
• Both often confused with other orchids
• Love damp, coastal, chalky soil.

How to identify

• Vivid purple-violet flowers
• 10cm to 35cm tall
• 10-40 flowers on each head
• The flower lips are marked with spots and curl back

Conservation status



• Damp ground
• Meadows
• Coastal
• Old Industrial Sites

Northern Marsh Orchid sightings at Grimsargh Wetlands

Northern Marsh Orchid Gallery

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