Orchid of the Year - Baltic Marsh Orchid

Dactylorhiza baltica

There are several Baltic marsh orchids with spotted leaves and purple inflorescence growing in Estonia. It is recognised, among others, by its dense, multi-flowered inflorescence and its lower leaves that are the same width from base to middle.

Its name refers to the fact that it grows in the Baltics and the surrounding areas; it cannot be found elsewhere in Europe or in the world.

This protected orchid is one of the few of its species that is not opposed to man-made habitats – it can be found in cities, waste lands, ditches or even unmaintained gardens.

Unfortunately, meadows with moist and fertile soil, which are suitable for it, tend to grow shrubs or reeds when grazing and mowing are interrupted. For example, the coastal meadows of Paljassaare or Pärnu are being restored with the help of city cows.

Aasta orhidee 2022 on Balti sõrmkäpp. Foto: Olev Abner