Breaking all taxonomical niceties we are going to refer to this plant simply as Cruenta in this profile of the species. Why a profile? This plant may well be Ireland’s rarest orchid; it is a northern palaearctic species occurring right across Russia, Scandinavia and some mid latitude European states (EU + Switzerland) including Ireland. It is also found very rarely in Britain (UK) where it tends to be classified by Kew as Dactylorhiza incarnata spp cruenta.

Is it Ireland’s rarest orchid?

In the location where it mainly occurs it faces a lot of competition; The Burren is well known for its populations of Dense-flowerd Orchid, O’Kelly’s Orchids, Dark Red Helleborine, etc… These are widely dispersed in The Burren. Cruenta on the other hand is mainly concentrated in one distinct location beside a shallow limestone lake near Gortlecka in a zone of karst hills with marl lakes and pastures on the lower ground. To the Northwest the isolated hill at Poulnalour and the uplands (Slievenaglasha, 200m) rise from the flat marl shore (c. 30m alt.) in the foreground (RIGHT image). The Lower Right image shows the gently curved bedding of Mullaghmore, 2 km to the Northeast, rising up to 200m. This lake lies in a crucial zone between the exposed and arid hills and the flatter greener land to the south. A patchwork of shallow lakes abound which may be dry or well filled with water depending on the season and the year. This seems to be the mecca for Cruenta seemingly specialising in flat wet shores, needing some water but tolerant of flooding also. This is a quick flowering orchid as shown by the 2 images (RIGHT) taken a week apart — possibly reflecting the exposed habitat in which it thrives. 2019 was an ideal season for investigating the numbers and distribution of this species in its Burren site.

Where does it fit in?

Topographically, in Ireland it grows on flat land. It may seem far from the waters edge but this may be a result of the lake withdrawing from its flood margins. A metre decrease in water level may equate to tens of metres horizontally. Taxonomically we tend to formally refer to this plant as Dactylorhiza cruenta along with the tradition adopted by many European countries. It does seem to have many habits and patterns warranting a classification as a distinct species and where it occurs the sites are normally only shared with one other Marsh Orchid from which it is distinctly different morphologically. In Britain it is often credited under the Kew List as Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp cruenta. However as is an Irish site do forgive us if we follow the popular EU naming format which is also adopted in Switzerland and Russia. This plant is widespread in Russia  and Eastern Europe where, in warmer climes, it has an appearance somewhat different from what we see in Ireland or, indeed, another marginal site high up in the Swiss Alps. (More later.)

Occurrence within Ireland and Britain.

As outlined above, we know of only one location in Ireland where this species can be reliably found. Within this location its numbers can be very variable as the water level changes. The level at the time this image was taken was ideal with open water recently receding. Water rising can drown the plants and water dropping — or evaporating in hot weather — can cause one of their last refuges, the solution hollows in the bare rock, to dessicate. Elsewhere there are recent records from Westmeath, Galway and Sligo. In Britain there is one recent record from the Scottish Highlands but apart from that no recent records.

Habitat in Ireland versus Europe

It occurs at a low altitude in Ireland and occupies a marginal niche. This is typical of the species throughout its range in Europe and Asia; it is an opportunist occurring on marginal territory where other species of orchid cannot survive. Ireland is at the very margin of its range and this site is typical of its occurrence here, at low level and on limestone or limestone tufa — as illustrated by the three adjoining photographs. Dactylorhiza curenta is essentially a European/Asian species but even in its heartland (Central Europe?) it never seems to be abundant and most online sources we have seen typically express pleasure and surprise when it is encountered. “What is this?” is a typical reaction expressed by a Russian woman when she came across it in Moscow! (Her beautiful photograph is reproduced under the palaearctic map below.) Exposed zones in its range over both continents are determined by height and latitude with records coming from 2 or 3 thousand meters in the Alps and higher in XinJiang Nature reserve in China bordering the Himalayas. Sites are higher up at lower latitudes. Are these wild and hostile areas cooler or devoid of grazing and is that what allows this small but hardy orchid to survive in adverse conditions? We have mapped the occurrence of this species in its Clare stronghold of rushy tufa flood plains that marks the normal lake water level, and the bare karst region that is rarely flooded but contains many holes and hollows that retain water and provide sufficient opportunity for this amazing species to grow and flower and, possibly, set seed. One wonders do mature plants survive in the solution hollows or are the plants found there every year from new seeds borne in by the wind. But, of course, the normal understanding of the life cycle for such orchids to flower requires that they survive underground associated with a fungus for many years!  It seems difficult to envisage such a process taking place in a basin sized hollow exposed to sunshine and heat in the Summer and frost in the Winter. Possibly this is a species that may benefit from ‘global warming’ often generating wet Summers and warmer Winters in Ireland?
“The use of the well-known general biogeographic zoning scheme of A.F. Emelyanov, especially by students and graduate students, has been somewhat hampered by the fact that the published versions of the map ( Emelyanov, 1974; Krivokhatsky and Emelyanov, 2000) are small in size and have poor print quality. In addition, a rather complicated zoning scheme is plotted there on a simple contour base and the geographical location of the boundaries of the sections is not always clear. It seemed to me useful to redraw the map on a larger scale and another projection and put it on a more informative basis, where, in addition to the coastline and large rivers, the relief is also presented in general terms. Alexander Fedorovich kindly agreed to reconcile the card and made several minor amendments. The principles of constructing the scheme, as well as instructions for its use, can be found in the original publication (Emelyanov A.F. Suggestions for the classification and nomenclature of ranges) Entomological Review. 1974. V. 53. Issue 3. P. 497-522). Below is a list of allotments, English versions of the names of which are given according to Krivokhatsky and Emelyanov (Krivokhatsky V.A., Emelyanov A.F. review. 2000.V. 79. Issue. 3, p. 557-578) A. Frolov.” April 2010

Mapping the Palaearctic (BELOW)

The Map below has been obtained from  Coleoptera Department, Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St.Petersburg, Russia.   LINKS: Palaearctic Map Page.  (LARGE file)  Russian Coleoptera Index We gratefully acknowledge grant of permission to use this Map from Andrei Lobanov (Editor of the Coleoptera Index ). This is a work of enormous scope and beauty. His Department is recording and illustrating a vast collection of Russian Coleoptera using this zoning. The scheme of the general biogeographic zoning of the Palearctic (A.F. Emelyanov, 1974 and  A.V. Frolov) is an immense undertaking very relevant, also, to Botany and, in particular our understanding of the occurrence and distribution of our species of interest (Dactylorhiza cruenta) spreading as it does from the western extreme of the palaearctic region to almost the furthest eastern area of the region. These locations are annotated on the map with examples illustrated and described below the map.

The scheme of the general biogeographic zoning of the Palearctic (Emelyanov A.F.. 1974) 

Palaearctic Regions Circumpolar Tundra region EuroSiberian Taiga (boreal) region West European Nemoral region Stenopean Manchurian/North China/North Japan Hesperian evergreen  subtropical (Atlantic Islands/westMed) region Othrian (Himalaya, south China, south Japan region Scythian steppe region Scythian desert region Based on Summary of descriptions provided on the original Russian and Enlish translation.


3. Finland

4. Estonia

5. Russia

6. China NW

7. Far East

The Burren, Co Clare. ALT = 30m This is the best known occurrence of this species in Ireland. It has two typical niches. Firstly in solution holes in the exposed limestone karst. Karst is limestone bedrock which is exposed to weathering in large parts of the north west corner of Co. Clare. This rock is soluble so circular holes and linear cracks are widespread and provide a refuge for The Burren’s unique flora. The circular or oval or elongated holes are closed and water lingers in these after it has run out of the grykes. This provides a moist refuge long after rainfall has drained from other areas. Cruenta is tolerant of both submergence and drying out but it is totally dependent on adjacent still water to survive. Its other habitat is in bare or rush covered areas of marl found around shallow lakes in the area.
Lena River, Yakutia, Russia The Lena River rises in the Baikal Mountains near to L. Baikal and travels north through Yakutia into the Arctic ocean. In its southern region at c. 180m above sea level, it divides into many tributaries as it approaches mountains. Along several of these tributaries D. cruenta  is recorded in the recent edition of the RED Book of Yakutia. It is a rare species in Yakutia but with an occurrence typical of the species in Ireland and throughout much of its range. In their book it is described as… ‘a mesophyte (a plant not requiring very much water), on forest edges, gravelly limestone slopes with sparse stands, prefers carbonate rocks and thickets of shrubs, slightly acidic, sometimes slightly alkaline, highly hydrated. Usually grows in full light, less often with some shade.  Blooms in mid-June during two weeks, the seeds ripen in August. This explains much about Cruenta’s occurrence in The Burren — a limestone desert exposed to hot sun with little shelter. Many thanks to the people in Yakutia and their Red Book. The image above is from their work. Details of the distribution of Cruenta in Yakutia are given in an extract from The Red Book in the Literature Section BELOW.
Kiiminki, Oulu. Finland. Alt< 75m  Two mature plants growing in a  permanently wet habitat in central Finland close to the northern tip of the Gulf of Bothnia at 65°N. This will be a warm moist area with long Summer nights and ideal growing conditions for the species. This photograph was taken at the end of June at 6:52pm by Matti Virtala enjoying 24 hr daylight! It is available on the Public Domain thanks to WikiMedia Commons. (Their help is much appreciated)
Baltic Coast of Estonia Alt <100m Plants are described as growing in a bog and are very close to the sea, so it can be assumed that this is a mild wet habitat in Summer. These two plants are starting to show the convergence of spots on both sides of the leaf, which is typical of this species growing in its ideal range. i.e. well watered and enjoying a long Summer. Image taken by Ivar Leidus from Niitvälja bog, Northwestern Estonia licensed by WikiMedia. Many thanks to him and to WikiMedia.
Moscow, Russia. Alt = 150m (?) All we know of this image is that it is from Moscow and was found on a Forum debating its identity. It is, of course, Dactylorhiza cruenta and it is quite similar to, though maybe larger(?) than, our specimens in Ireland.
Xinjiang Reserve. Alt: 1450 - 7443m Part of the Xinjiang Reserve is Tomur Mountain which has 7 altitudinal zones from Desert Zone to Ice/Snow zone. Of the rare and endangered endemic species three are included in the Red List of IUCN (2010), There are 10 species included in the Appendix I, II and III of CITES (2010), including Orchis cruenta. (Orchis is still the genus name used but it is the same species.) It probably occurs in the sub-Alpine meadow zone (Altitude of 2,600 - 2,900m.) It is a fascinating reference but we have been unable to find out any further details. We include this reference here as it is interesting and unique.




2. Example of Altitude distribution Italy, Alpine Regions. Alt = 1400 - 2400m  Only found in the north of Italy, this map is useful in that it shows the altitude at which the species is found and the period of Summer (June and July) when the plant can be expected . It is marginalised in its occurrence, like the Irish specimens, and any images we have seen are very similar to the Irish specimens. They are sometimes known as Flecked Orchids as they generally have only very fine spotting on both surfaces of the leaves. This may be due to the shortened growing season they endure in the western extreme of their range (The Burrren) and in high mountain areas (Alps) due to a cooler and limited flowering season…






2 (Italy) is located below collection.
1 2 4 5 6 3 7 9 8
8 & 9. Further East! We have persistently heard of occurrences of this species further east, almost to the Pacific, but we had been unable to tie down these records and they may be either very old records or classification errors. What information we have is quoted below and included on the Palaearctic Map (ABOVE). It is very satisfying to conclude that this fragile plant is indeed a pan-Palaearctic species! Khabarovsk. (Maritime Province on Ohkotsk Sea) Map BELOW: ‘’Rare species recorded (1-2 times) [on middle course of Maya R. tributary of the R. Lena] are Lysiella oligantha, Dactylorhiza incarnata, D. cruenta, Cypripedium calceolus, Epipactis papillosa and Herminium monorchis. The analysis of the geographical distribution of orchids has shown that this area is dominated by species that are widely found in Europe, Asia, Siberia, and the Far East.’ The family Orchidaceae in the flora of the Maya River Basin, the Khabarovsk Territory. Vernoslova Maria I. Institute of Water and Ecology problems FEB RAS, Khabarovsk, Russia ALSO, many records from southern border of Region 2000/03 in Khabarovsk Red Book, p166

Irish Orchid


Our research on this species is recent; we have been very much absorbed in monitoring the occurrence of another orchid, Spiranthes romanzoffia, in the west of Ireland. That is a beautiful orchid and we are very happy to have so many of the species close to where we live. Also, it seems very adaptable and secure in its distribution here. Like D. cruenta it is a resourceful species. Unlike cruenta it seems to be entirely dependent on Nearctic stock to sustain its popul- ation here, by means of prevailing wind and the JetStream transporting seed directly to Ireland [MORE] Dactylorhiza cruenta, on the other hand does not occur in North America. However, from its preferred growing locations, we suspect that this is a species which is also heavily dependent on wind-borne seed coming, this time, from  Nordic and Central European countries. Local re-stocking is probably very limited as this plant occurs in marginal sites, flowers for only 2 weeks and sets seed 2 months later. During this period the lake or potholes in which it grows can easily be inundated or flooded. Our international research (esp. Russian files) emphasises that this is a mesotrophic plant so it can survive drought and flooding better than many species. But does this apply to its seeds and are fertilised seeds produced readily locally or anywhere in Ireland and is air transport from continental Europe a feasible possibility going east to west against the prevailing winds? More to investigate this year (2020) !!!
This small lake varies in width from 1 - 2km depending on water height. The water level shown in this picture seems to accurately reflect water levels at the time of our 2019 survey. (The aerial photo is older.) Specimens recorded occurred on the southern side of the lake, predominantly in the rectangular bay at the SW corner. However all the southern shore was surveyed on at least one occasion. This species can be very local and this main site may be the only active site on the lake? The pattern of settlement likely reflects the water level and the physical conditions of the area The rectangular inlet may well benefit from shelter from the surrounding limestone banks. But there are important location issues too…

Settlement Patterns:

As mentioned at the start of this page, ‘Cruenta’ in Ireland shows signs of marginalisation in its manner of settlement. It must be ‘opportunistic’ in terms of stocking as its numbers seem to vary greatly from year to year and some of the places it calls home are so miniature (like a flower pot) it is hard to see them and their seeds maintaining a population on such an insecure footing. At time of writing (Feb. 2020) Ireland is enduring a series of storms. This site, and much of Clare, will be deeply flooded. These plants will endure this along with short periods of freezing— now becoming a rare feature of the Irish climate!

Types of Settlement locations:

a) Potholes! Limestone is water soluble and this applies to flat surfaces as well as vertical joints. A small defect or variation in the rock may allow water to remain on the surface and expand the imperfection into a hole (or cavity). not drained by a pre-existing fracture in the limestone pavement. Hence these hollows are wet, not too deep, and fine silt and soil collects. They are surface features whereas the grykes can be deep, narrow and well drained. b) Flat gritty marly shores suitable for reed growth and Marsh Orchids on marl-lake margins as the dense compacted silt resists drying out and maintains water supplies below the surface. c) Unsuitable locations: Grykes.  Existing vertical joints (or weaknesses) in flat limestone eroded by water and ice to provide a network of narrow deep channels breaking up the platform into numerous clints. The series of photographs below represent the variety of niches that this species occupies on this very small site. It should be emphasised that in searches around the southern half of this lake no other specimens have been found apart from those recorded on the Map. It seems that the micro-habitat, and particularly water supply, are crucial to the growth and survival of the plant here. Otherwise they wither away and are not recorded. The photos can be characterised as going from a rocky to a marl or mire type habitat. Shelter provided by bushes and boulders can also be a factor in their settlement and survival.


Where Cruenta  is known to occur, this is one of the first places to look. Their yellow/green stems are quite obvious against the blue of the limestone. Depending on the weather these holes may be full or dried up but still the  Cruenta  survive, often accompanied by healthy looking Maiden Hair fern and other dried up vegetation. This niche emphasises this species’ mesophyte nature and tolerance for drought and could explain their occurrence here as well as in central Asia! We never think of The Burren as an arid desert but in some ways it is? The Summer (up to August) had been very dry and hot by Irish standards and  large numbers of Cruenta   grew and flowered, possibly dropping seed into the same, or adjoining, solution hollows. These plants and seeds must be hardy to survive flooding, drought, and high salt levels.


In parts of this shore, up against walls and limestone escarpments, a few scrubby trees manage to grow. Associated with these some ground vegetation survives even though both the shrub and herbs are growing on very thin ‘soil’ on top of the karst. This is an almost permanent refuge for either seeds or tubers. Plants can be relied on to flower here when they are not present elsewhere.

Marl shoreline:

Marl forms from eroded limestone. It is a  calcite rich mud with varying amounts of clays and silt and other minerals.  Large beds of soft marl border the shores and permanent structures develop as the marl hardens. The marl beaches support Cruenta as they are hygroscopic and can retain water after the surface dries out. The 2 images above show one plant close up with its rounded first leaf still visible. The other image shows a wide area with reeds struggling to survive in a dessicated mineral rich shore with a typical Burren limestone hill in the background. This environment seems typical of this species occurrence in areas where few other orchids can survive be it in Ireland, in the Alps, or in much more exposed climates in western China and Russia’s Far East. Cruenta  is truly a Palaearctic species traversing half the globe from Clare (Ireland) to the Russian Province on Khabarovsk bordering the Sea of Ohkotsk and the Pacific.


Cruenta seems to grow best where some degree of shelter is present. The upper part of the shore is exposed limestone with grykes (linear channels) or hollows where other plants may flourish relying on water remaining at a lower level. Surface shelter is provided for Cruenta by large boulders or glacial erratics. (The bare mountains of The Burren are due to ice movements during the Irish ice ages and small to very large erratics are widely present in the area.) The image shows 2 orchids flowering behind such an erratic but their roots are in marl which, in this case, is evaporating to display calciferous silt. This is a very alkaline environment.

Growth and Reproduction in Ireland:

The photographs above were taken on the 14th and 21st June, 2019. These plants grow very rapidly given warm weather so, working backwards it is possible to assume that these specimens may be visible at the start of June and may only emerge during May. We know of no studies of the over-wintering behaviour of this species in Ireland. But the very thin spiky leaves would be almost impossible to detect at emergent phase. On our first visit in 2019 buds were only evident on 1 specimen. A week later most specimens were in full flower and some were starting to decay. This neatly brackets their flowering timetable. We know from Russian research (see Literature ABOVE)  that the flowering time and habitat is broadly similar in their range along the upper Lena River. Also, that information indicates a seed release time as August prior to this area freezing over in October. This year we hope to follow the Irish Cruenta for a longer period and establish if local seed is the main source for the very small and limited occurrences of this species in Ireland.


We hope to do much more on this Site in 2020. Hope to meet you there in June; also please do contact us with your ideas or any errors you identify on this page Many thanks
The two eminent scientists who made this Map available. A.F. Emelyanov (LEFT) A. Frolov (RIGHT) We use their map to show the range of D. cruenta across Eurasia. Many thanks…
Click on Images where you see this symbol. + WildWest records and celebrates Nature, Habitat, Scenery on the western seaboard of Europe bringing you reports on how our wild communities (plants, animals, insects etc) are surviving in Ireland and other western extremes. Published 10 March 2020 1400px site. Designed for Desktop or Laptop… This is a SPECIES Profile Dactylorhiza cruenta CH, EU, RUseparate species in Switzerland. UK Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. cruenta (Kew List) French: Orchis couleur de sang. + +
Category and status of the rarity of the species in Yakutia: 3G. This is a rare species that has a significant wider range, but occurs in Yakutia on the northern edge of its distribution. (See Map RIGHT) The morphology of the species: Perennial herb 14-30 cm tall, with a hollow to the top leafy stem and compressed 2- 4 separate tubers; 3-4 leaves, broadly lanceolate, spotted or violet-stained, lower and middle leaves from 4.5-10 cm long and 1.0-2.0 cm wide, upper small and narrow. Bracts lanceolate, violet, spotted, lower longer and upper equal to flower size; inflorescence is cylindrical, thick; small, dark purple or [red/purple] flowers. [1] Distribution. In Yakutia: in the South areas of the 'PP' (river basins) Lena river basins, Aldan; along the valley of the Lena river going North. Yakutsk; along the Aldan river and reaches the Tompo river [2]. [Also, the ‘right’ Bank of the Amga river, mouth of the Bai (Coll. N. M. Sitnikov, 1991); on the R. Olekma, R. Tocco, the mouth of the Ulakhan-Segalen Nyah (Coll. L. V. Kuznetsova, 1994)] Outside of Yakutia: the European part of Russia, Western and Eastern Siberia, in the Far East east to Kamchatka; Mongolia, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan [3-5]. Habitats and biology: Mesophyte. Grows in pine, rarely mixed forests, on forest edges, gravelly limestone slopes with sparse stands, prefers carbonate rocks. [4, 5, 6]. Raw and boggy meadows, thickets of shrubs, on clay and peat, poorly aerated soils rich in humus, slightly acidic, sometimes neutral or slightly alkaline, highly hydrated. Usually grows on full light, less often with some shade. Blooms in June- July [1]. Blooms in mid-June during two weeks, the seeds ripen in August [7], the first flowering occurs in the [2nd?] year [1]. Abundance: Large successful populations located within protected areas. There are more than a thousand individuals that are not subject to anthropogenic influence. Populations near [urban] localities are in critical condition. Limiting factors and threats: It cannot tolerate anthropogenic [picking flowers] factors, excessive trampling, and disappears from the vicinity of settlements. Undergoes risks as a highly decorative plant. Necessary security measures include protection from being taken.. Included in the list of rare plants [2, 8-11 etc.].  Protected on the territory of the state Enterprise "Olekminsky" [12], PP "Lena Pillars" [13], Gpzk "Pilka", PP " WWF-Sakha (Charuoda) [14]. It has been introduced in Yakutia since 1970. In cultivation, it is weak, does not bloom annually, the capsule is formed but the seeds do not develop. The vegetative growth is weak [7]. Source of information: 1. Vakhrameeva et al., 1991; 2. Red book of RS (I), 2000;3. Flora of the USSR, vol. 4, 1935; 4. Ivanova, 1987;5. Averyanov, 1999; 6. Karavaev, 1958; 7. Danilova, 1993; 8. Red book of the Russian Federation, 2008; 9. The red book of Khabarovsk..., 2008;10. Red book of Krasnoyarsk..., 2012; 11. Red book of Tomsk..., 2013; 12. Golyakov, 1996;13. Zakharova, 1999; 14. Kuznetsova, 2010. Compiled By E. A. Afanasyeva.
Lena R. M A G A D A N  K H A B A R O V S K Y  A  K  U  T  I  A
(Translated from the Red Book of Yakutia) This Maps and Illustrates but is only available in Russian. Autromatic translation is difficult and we have interpreted meaning as best we can.

Development and spread of the genus Dactylorhiza


Dactylorhiza cruenta from Yakutia

The Dactylorizids are primarily a European Alpine species and their migration and spread is a function of mountain building and climate change. Leonid V. Averyanov, writing in Systematics Evolution, states that the group we now know as Dactylorhiza originated from primitive heat loving lowland plants of central Europe pre- dating The Alps. The Alpine mountain building process  (Eocene and Oligocene 50 - 33 MYA) when African and Indian plates moved northwards against the Eurasian plate, leading to crumpling and rapid elevation of the region causing the climate to change in that era’s version of ‘climate cooling’. This Alpine Orogenesis exposed these primitive helleborine style orchids to seasonal fluctuations and a reduced growing period which lead to these orchids forming tubers or enlarged roots to enabling them to survive the Winters….  (See Below) Natural History of the Genus Dactylorchiza and Its Species (Extract)* “It is supposed that the ancestors of dactylorchids were not very specialized terrestrial heat-loving orchids of the Poltava flora, which were widely distributed in the Paleogene. Their thickened specialized roots were not evolved yet and in outward appearance the plants resembled primitive species of Epipactis and Cephalanthera (Dressier and Dodson, 1960). Formation of primary dactylorchid species and related tuber forming orchids is associated with powerful mountain raising (Alpine orogenesis) in what is modern Europe at the end of the Paleogene or early Neogene. The more severe climate of relatively high mountains and especially the increased seasonal fluctuations and the cooler temperatures lead to the formations of subterranean storage organs in the ancestral forms which were located in the plains. As a result of the cooling at the end of Neogene and in the Pleistocene, the climatic conditions in the plains became similar to the climate of the ancient high mountains. Under these conditions, early species of dactylorchids could occupy plains areas where the degradation of thermophilic tertiary flora was proceeding. Most dactylorchids and the related genera Gymnadenia, Leucorchis and Coeloglossum as well as their Paleogene ancestors remained primarily hydrophilous plants…. The distribution of D. cruenta is very similar to that of D. incarnata but this species is not found in the mountains of the Crimea, the Caucasus and Middle Asia. Probably the migration of D. cruenta occurred somewhat later than that of D. incarnata. To the east it almost reaches the Sea of Okhotsk together with D. incarnata, and in the south it extends to Mongolia. D. cruenta has spotted leaves, a character found only in D. chuhensis and sometimes in D. euxina in this subsection.”
Palaearctic Zones Circumpolar Tundra region EuroSiberian Taiga (boreal) region West European Nemoral region Stenopean Manchurian/North China/North Japan Hesperian evergreen subtropical (Atlantic Islands/westMed) region Othrian (Himalaya, south China, south Japan region Scythian steppe region Scythian desert region Transition areas are not highlighted in colour


2 (Italy) is shown BELOW
Cruenta World Distribution: It can be seen from records we have added to the map (ABOVE) that D. cruenta is present right across the palaearctic with very few records everywhere. It occurs mainly between Lat. 50 - 60N but further south at high altitudes. Most records are from the West European nemoral region and the EuroSiberian taiga.
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Upper Shore of the Lake: Frances lying down on the karst photographing Cruenta starting to emerge in small rounded (or irregular) holes which hold water. More such holes are in the foreground. The limestone slopes slightly towards the shoreline which can be recognised by boulders at its edge and the flatter surface of the area frequently flooded.

Dactylorhiza cruenta population and distribution in The Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland.

*A Review of the Genus Dactylorhiza* LEONID V. AVERYANOV  Systematics Evolution, 1987 PDF available courtesy of (HERE)



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An interesting question: Are Cruenta roots less developed than other Dactylorhizids