- Purple Spotted Orchid ( Orchis mascula )

- Early Purple Orchid is the first Orchid in Britain to flower in the yearly cycle. It has a rather dense spike of purple flowers (occasionally they are pinkish and rarely they are white). Its exquisite flowers have the drawback of somewhat of male cats, but I love the way the two sepals (outward leaves of the calyx or outer whorl) are held like the wings of an angels, and also the little 'faces' in the flowers. The stem has several sheathing leaves at the base just below the rosette of shiny green leaves with dark spots.

Early Purple Orchid is locally common throughout Britain and grows in woods (including beech and oak woods), scrub, grassland and road-verges on moist, non-acid soils. Flowers: April - June