Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. transsilvanica


Photo: Nora De Angelli, June 2017, near Brasov (Rumänien)

Transylvanian Heath-Spotted Orchid

Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. transsilvanica, is a slender plant with a height of 30 to 70 cm. It is differentiated from Dactylorhiza maculata by its white to yellowish white flowers. The leafs are unspotted. The inflorescence is at first cylindrical, later conical and is densely packed with 20 to 50 single flowers. The spur is thick and bent downwards.

Taxonomic discussion

In 1814, the Silesian botanist Anton Johann Krocker (1744-1823) described a “snow white orchid” as Orchis candidissima, in the 3rd volume of his Flora Silesiaca – the description of a broad labellum (“labello lato”) was later interpreted as an indication to a white-flowered form of Dactylorhiza maculata.

In 1853, the plants in Romania have been described by Ferdinand Schur (1799-1878) as Orchis transsilvanica. The Hungarian botanist Botaniker Károly Rezsö Soó comprised them in the genus Dactylorhiza. In his planned opus about the orchids of Europe, Karel Kreutz plans to present this plant as a single species Dactylorhiza transsilvanica.

White colour of flowers

The flowers of Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. transsilvanica are white or yellowish white, rarely with a pink tint. Maybe it’s just a regional dominant population of white-flowered Dactylorhiza maculata.

Photo: Nora De Angelli, June 2017, near Brasov (Romania)

Habitat, bloom and distribution

Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. transsilvanica likes wet meadows up to a height of 1500 meters. Flowering season ist from June to July. The plant can be found in Southeastern Europe.