Orchis mascula | Early-purple Orchid | Magairlín meidhreach

Pre 2017

2017 - 2020


Native status


Species Biology


  • Distinctive orchid that flowers from April to June
  • Flowers in tall spikes (up to 40cm) that vary in colour from deep purple through to white
  • The distinctive feature of this orchid is its long, stout, upturned cylindrical spur
  • Lower leaves in a rosette of 4-8 oblong leaves that can be plain, blotched or spotted
  • It is often suggested that this orchid has a distinctive smell of tom-cat’s pee


Deciduous woodland, roadside verges, limestone pavement. Occurs on neutral or calcareous soil


World distribution(GBIF)

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2023

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.

How can you help

This species is included in our spring flowering plants project. If you see the species please submit your sighting. All information is very valuable.

Full list of species included in the spring flowering plants project:

  1. Bluebell
  2. Common Dog-violet
  3. Cowslip
  4. Early Dog-violet
  5. Early-purple Orchid
  6. Lady’s smock (Cuckooflower)
  7. Lesser Celandine
  8. Lords-and Ladies
  9. Primrose
  10. Toothwort
  11. Wild Garlic
  12. Winter Heliotrope
  13. Wood Anemone
  14. Wood Sorrel
  15. Coltsfoot
  16. Three-cornered Garlic

Further information

This species is included in the spring flowering plants project which is a collaboration between the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the BSBI. It is hoped we can collect valuable data to improve our knowledge of the current distribution of some common plants. All data will be fully validated by both partners before loading to Biodiversity Maps and being made available to the BSBI.