Early Marsh-orchid of Norway
In Norway Early Marsh-orchid defined as Dactylorhiza incarnata ssp. incarnata and as a subspecies of Dactylorhiza incarnata. Early Marsh-orchid found throughout the country North even Troms. It seems to be lacking in Finnmark. Chromosome Numbers 2n = 40..
Early Marsh-orchid is a rough built orchid, usually 25-30 cm high, but can be up to 50 cm. The leaves are lanceolate and widest toward the stem. The leaves are usually spotless, but spotty leaves may occur. The underside of the spotted leaves so are spotless (unlike ssp.). The upper leaves are small, but are otherwise similar to the leaves on down. Inflorescence is dense with purple or salmon pink flowers. Plants with yellow-white or white flowers also occur, but very rarely. The two side petals facing upwards. The lip is longer than the width, has relatively straight side edges is rhombic or triangular, and sometimes indistinct three lobes. Spore is narrow and slightly downward bent. In the lowlands in eastern blooms early marsh orchid in June and in the mountains in July.
Early Marsh-orchid of Norway can be divided into at least four types referred to Lids Norwegian Flora:
1. The most common type is rather small with height 20-30 cm and usually salmon-coloured flowers. Available in rich fens in the lowlands.
2. A coarser type with height usually 30-40 cm or higher and are of flood-meadow and beach-meadow from Skien Fjord to the lake.
3. A more low-grown Early Marsh-orchid (coastal type coccinea = deep red) A subspecies found in wet places of sand dunes and rich fen near the sea in Western Norway. It has strong carmine red flowers.
4. A low-growing Early Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata var. lobelii) found on Jæren and Lista has pale flesh red flowers.
In mountainous marsh and north we find another more compact and low-growing Early Marsh-orchid (ssp. Incarnata var. borealis (northern)) which only differs from ssp. cruenta with their leaves without spots. Early Marsh-orchid with subspecies and varieties are protected under the Nature Diversity Act and considered as endangered on Norwegian Red List.
Dactylorhiza incarnata var. “coccinea”
Dactylorhiza incarnata var. “coccinea” is very rare and are mainly found along the coast of the Irish Sea and Scotland where it exists only very locally. It is also barely found in Wales, the Hebrides and Anglesey in the British channel. In Norway Jæren and Lista there previously found plants that most likely this orchid. According Lids Norwegian Flora’s Dactylorhiza incarnata var. “coccinea” moist, dunes and rich fen on sandy beaches in south-western Norway.
I have not succeeded in finding this and whether it exists in Norway today is unknown. Dactylorhiza incarnata var. “coccinea” is usually 5 to 15 cm high, leaves 5-10 pieces are up to 21 cm long and 4.5 cm broad and dark green without spots. The flowers are from 20-40 fits tightly axis and flower color is bright scarlet. Separated easily from Dactylorhiza incarnata var. lobelii by their dark green leaves and its dark scarlet flowers. Var. lobelii has a light touch, both in leaf color and flower color.
Dactylorhiza incarnata var. lobelii
A small D. incarnata which is only 12 to 15 cm high and are available at several locations between the dunes in Jæren and Lista in very moist sand meadows where groundwater is standing in the soil surface. The localities will also often be completely submerged in winter with heavy precipitation. Other herbs that you can find on the habitats are very low-growing Comarum palustris, Caltha palustris and Potentilla argentea. Dactylorhiza incarnata var. lobelii blooms later than the Early Marsh-orchid and is very rare. Also in Denmark, Great Britain and Holland where it may be up to 20 cm high. Leaves are light green spotless and the plant has pale flesh red flowers.