Early Purple Orchid- out at the same time as Bluebells, these earliest of orchids, rising from a basal ring of spotted leaves, prefer alkaline soils. They are the “long purples” of Shakespeare, in Hamlet: Ophelia’s
garland is described as ” of crow flowers, nettles, daisies and long purples, that liberal shepherds give a grosser name”! When first out they smell of Lily of the Valley but later this turns unpleasant. The great Natural History Museum orchid id site, nhm.ac.uk tells you how to distinguish them from the similar Spotted Orchid. Conditions: Prolonged, much needed rain. Temperature: Max 12- Min 9 c.