Dactylorhiza maculata 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Asparagales Orchidaceae

Scientific Name: Dactylorhiza maculata (L.) Soó
Common Name(s):
English Heath Spotted Dactylorhiza
Dactylorchis elodes (Griseb.) Verm.
Dactylorchis maculata (L.) Vermeulen
Dactylorchis maculata (L.) Soó subsp. arduennensis Zadoks
Dactylorhiza transsilvanica (Schur) Aver.
Taxonomic Source(s): WCSP. 2018. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Available at: http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-16
Assessor(s): Rankou, H.
Reviewer(s): Fay, M. & Bilz, M.
European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU 27 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)

Dactylorhiza maculata is rather widespread and abundant where it occurs. The species is protected in some countries including Belgium and Luxembourg but the existing threats for the species and the habitats are unlikely to cause the populations to decline quickly in the near future.  Therefore, Dactylorhiza maculata is assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Dactylorhiza maculata is not well known due to confusion within the group. Eastern and Central European populations assigned to this species may be hybrids or introgressed forms with D. fuchsii.

The species is found throughout temperate and boreal Eurosiberia. This species is found up to 2,300 m altitude (Delforge 1995, Bournérias and Prat 2005)

Countries occurrence:
Albania; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Germany; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sicilia); Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Moldova; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Romania; Russian Federation (Central European Russia, North European Russia, Northwest European Russia, South European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland; Ukraine (Ukraine (main part)); United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2300
Range Map:175942-1

Population [top]


Dactylorhiza maculata is widespread and sometimes abundant where it occurs. The trend of the population remains unknown (Delforge 1995, Bournérias and Prat 2005).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Dactylorhiza maculata it grows in slightly improved grassland, margins and clearings, and peatbogs, always with Molinea grass and on marshes. It grows on acid, cool to swampy soils in full sunlight to shade. The flowering time takes place from May to July (Delforge 1995, Bournérias and Prat 2005).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The tuber is very nutritious when cooked. It is a source of 'salep', a fine white to yellowish-white powder that is obtained by drying the tuber and grinding it into a powder. Salep is a starch-like substance which can be made into a drink, added to cereals or to bread. It can be prepared in the same way as arrowroot. A jelly can be made from the salep which is used to treat irritations of the gastro-intestinal canal (Plants For a Future 2010).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The habitat of Dactylorhiza maculata is submitted to numerous anthropogenic threats including drainage, agricultural use of the habitat, urbanization, tourism, trampling and plant collection (Delforge 1995, Bournérias and Prat 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

All orchids are included under Annex B of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Dactylorhiza maculata is a protected plant in some countries such as Belgium and Luxembourg.

The following actions are recommended to protect Dactylorhiza maculata;

  • Mowing the site at least once a year to reduce the abundance of grasses and remove the old biomass before the next season.
  • Protection of the habitat from ploughing, agriculture uses.
  • Water regime must be ensured, drainage of meadows should be avoided, and provision of small dams may be necessary to avoid drying of the site in spring.
  • Fencing the sites may help if the springs and peat bogs are damaged.
  • Protection of the living individuals through legislation and legal protection which ban the species from being picked or dug up.
  • Ex situ conservation: Artificial propagation, re-introduction, seed collections.
  • Monitoring and surveillance of the existing populations and sites.
  • Estimate the population size and study their dynamics.

(Delforge 1995, Bournérias and Prat 2005)

Citation: Rankou, H. 2011. Dactylorhiza maculata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T175942A7149916. . Downloaded on 16 August 2018.
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