How to distinguish our hybrids from the parent species

Orchis purpurea x simia (=angusticruris) on Hartslock NR

I’m often asked about our Lady x Monkey orchid hybrids and visitors frequently seem confused about how to distinguish them from their parents. So here is a quick summary and discussion about them to give you some tips.

Here is a summary of the features that the hybrid takes from each parent. The hybrid feature is in bold.

Leaf colourgrey greenyellow green
Leaf shapekeeled and smoothbroad & ribbed
Plant stature Short and thintall and vigorous
Flower colour pink red
Flower hoodpale and relatively unmarkedcoloured with dense spotting
Flower shapewith legswith a “skirt”
Flowering timeLast week in April*First week in May
  • in reality the hybrids are usually a few days after the Lady orchids

Here is a selection of hybrids:

Here are the parent species:

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