Early-purple Orchid (Orchis mascula)
Widespread throughout the British Isles, especially in the southern half of England, the beautiful O. mascula is one of the first flowering orchids to appear in the spring. It grows in a wide variety of habitats on neutral or calcareous soils, flourishing in particular in broadleaved woodland and coppices. It can also be found on calcareous grassland, limestone pavement, road verges and beside damp flushes on coastal cliffs. Specimens with unspotted leaves and a white-flowered variety also occur.
Lang, D., 2004. Britain’s Orchids. Old Basing, Hampshire: WILDGuides Ltd., pp. 130-131.