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Dactylorhiza maculata reaches on average 15–45 cm. These plants are terrestrial bulbous, forming their buds in underground tubers or bulbs, that annually produce new stems, leaves and flowers. The orchid has a cylindrical stem, with a streaked surface. The leaves are oblong or oval-lanceolate, with dark ellipsoid-shaped "spots" on the surface (hence the species name). The underground part of the stem has two webbed tubers each one more or less deeply divided into several lobes or tubercles (characteristic of the genus Dactylorhiza), the first one plays the important functions of supplying the stem, while the second one collects nutrient materials for the development of the plant that will form in the coming year. The inflorescence is 5–15 cm long and it is composed of flowers gathered in dense spikes. The flowers colors vary from light pink to purple or white with darker streaks. They are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects, especially bumblebees. However the seeds germination is conditioned by the presence of specific fungi.
Oude spoorweg - Vaarttaluds – Braebos (Belgium).