Surely the most exquisite wild orchid in Ireland, Green-winged Orchid is a small, erect plant which grows to about 30cm tall in grassland and meadows where grazing occurs. It bears flowers, well separated, in short spikes and these flowers appear in several colours – from snow-white through pink and magenta to deep purple. The three sepals are purple-veined with strong, green lines and these sepals form a hood over a broad, downward folded lower lip which is three-lobed and heavily spotted at its white centre. There is also a stout, slightly-curved spur. These incredible flowers bloom from mid-April to mid-June. The leaves are shiny green, unspotted with the upper leaves sheathing the stem and the lower leaves forming a rosette.
Previously known as Orchis morio, it also bears the common name of Green-veined Orchid. This is a native perennial which belongs to the Orchid or Orchidaceae family.
I first saw this beauty in County Tipperary in May 2017 with the great help of a couple of friends. I photographed it there at the time.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre
Green-winged Orchid is classed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the 2016 Red Data List of Vascular plants. This classification means that it has declined by as much as 49% in its area of occupancy.
Each of our native orchids is beautifully illustrated by the gifted botanical artist, Susan Sex and is an exquisite representation of an amazing plant; Susan's illustrations are complemented by carefully-chosen words from our National Botanic Gardens orchid specialist, Brendan Sayers. Susan's illustrations of key features of our native orchids are extremely useful when trying to identify a species and Brendan's descriptions help to broaden one's understanding of this complex and intriguing subject, and lead one nearer to making a possible identification. He also contributes information on the conservation of these magnificent little plants and gives details of where they might be found. Please seek out this masterpiece from your usual bookseller or find it on Gill Books - Nature - Ireland's Wild Orchids