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EARLY PURPLE ORCHID Orchis mascula (Orchidaceae) Height to 40cm. Attractive perennial that grows in woodland, scrub and grassland, doing especially well on neutral or calcareous grassland. FLOWERS are pinkish purple, with a 3-lobed lower lip, 8-12mm long, and a long spur; borne in tall spikes (Apr-Jun). FRUITS are egg-shaped. LEAVES are glossy and dark green with dark spots; these appear first as a rosette, from January onwards, from which the flower stalk arises later in spring. STATUS-Widespread and locally common throughout much of the region.