Dactylorhiza is a genus of terrestrial orchid plants in the family Orchidaceae, comprising about 75 species and hundreds of hybrids. The genus name is derived from Greek words dactylos meaning finger, and rhiza which means root, in referring to the palmately two- to five-lobed tubers of this genus. It is distributed throughout the subarctic and temperate northern hemisphere, from Alaska, Canada and mostly Eurasian countries.
Dactylorhiza is tuberous geophyte that grows in wet meadows, bogs, heathland and in areas sparsely populated by trees. Its tuber can store large amount of water to survive arid conditions. The leaves are long, lanceolate, and speckled in most species, and grow along a long stem, 70-90 cm. The leaves lower on the stem are longer than the leaves higher on the stem. The inflorescence is a short, compact raceme with 25-50 flowers. The flowers are ranged from all shades of pink to purple, and with darker spots.
Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted orchid) is the most common orchid in Britain. It can be found growing in alkaline marshes to chalk downland. The plant, 15-60 cm tall, has leaves that are lanceolate, narrow, keeled and often spotted with dark color. From June to August, it bears flowers of varying colors, from white to pale purple with purple spots. The flower has three-lobed lip.
Dactylorhiza incarnata (Early Marsh Orchid) is a perennial, temperate-climate orchid that occurs widely in Europe and Asia. The plant, 15-70 cm tall, has 4-7 erect yellowish-green leaves that are hooded at the tip. The flowering period is from May to mid-July, depending on subspecies and latitude. The inflorescence is a compact raceme of 4-12 cm long, with up to 50 flowers. The flower has a long and narrow labellum with three shallowly-lobed tip.