For some reason I’ve often be confused by the fact that these two orchids can be found flowering in close proximity to one another at the same time on the Lots.
But really, it’s not hard to tell them apart. The green-winged orchid is diminutive, has leaves without spots, and has those distinctive green stripes on the flowers.
Early Purple Orchid
The early purples, on the other hand, are often quite tall, intensely purple (much more so than these pictures suggest), have heavily spotted leaves and those extravagantly long and thin nectar spurs at the back of the flowers.
So, it seems that I have learnt something. I have also recently discovered that early purple orchids smell of cats pee, which apparently is attractive to bees (but I can’t see why that would be the case), and that those long spurs are in fact just a tease, the orchids don’t produce any nectar and are conning the bees into pollinating them.
More about early purple orchids: