Herbs & Plants

Dactylorhiza incarnata

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Botanical Name : Dactylorhiza incarnata
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Dactylorhiza
Species: D. incarnata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Orchis incarnata. O. latifolia. O. strictifolia.

Common Names: Marsh Orchid ,Early marsh-orchi

Habitat : Dactylorhiza incarnata is native to Europe, including Britain, north to Norway and east to W. Asia. It grows in wet meadows and marshes in rich soils.

Dactylorhiza incarnata is perennial orchid plant.The long leaves are lanceolate and, in most species, also speckled. They grow along a rather long stem which reaches a height of 70-90 cm. Leaves higher on the stem are shorter than leaves lower on the stem.

The inflorescence, compared to the length of the plant, is rather short. It consists of a compact raceme with 25-50 flowers. These develop from axillary buds. The dominant colors are all shades of pink to red, sprinkled with darker speckles.

Bent-back sides of lowest petal is best ID feature. Three kinds occur here: pink (common), purple (frequent) and red (very rare). The red ones are ssp coccinea and the purple ones are ssp pulchella. The pink ones have traditionally been regarded as ssp incarnata, and they key out to this in the books. However some experts believe that all the pink ones are a form of ssp pulchella, and this is supported by the fact that they frequently form what appears to be a single population with the purple ones…..CLICK & SEE : 

It is in flower from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Edible Uses:  The root bulb  is  cooked. It is very nutritious. 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 with a sweetish taste and a faint somewhat unpleasant smell. It is said to be very nutritious and is made into a drink or can be added to cereals and used in making bread etc. One ounce of salep is said to be enough to sustain a person for a day.
Medicinal Uses:

Demulcent; Nutritive.

Salep is very nutritive and demulcent. It has been used as a diet of special value for children and convalescents, being boiled with water, flavoured and prepared in the same way as arrowroot. Rich in mucilage, it forms a soothing and demulcent jelly that is used in the treatment of irritations of the gastro-intestinal canal. One part of salep to fifty parts of water is sufficient to make a jelly. The tuber, from which salep is prepared, should be harvested as the plant dies down after flowering and setting seed .
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.