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Epipactis helleborine

Epipactis helleborine (Broad-leaved Helleborine) is a terrestrial species of orchid. Its nodding flowers vary from greenish pink to purple, and it prefers shaded woodland environments.


Epipactis helleborine grows to a height of 80 cms has broad dull green leaves which are strongly ribbed and flat. The flowers are arranged in a long drooping racemes with dull green sepals and shorter upper petals. The lower labellum is pale red and is much shorter than the upper petals.[3]


It is widespread across much of Europe and Asia from Portugal to China, as well as northern Africa.[1][4][5] In North America, it is widely naturalized mostly in the Northeastern United States, eastern Canada and the Great Lakes Region, but also in scattered locations in other parts of the continent.[6][7][8]


Found in woods and hedge-banks.[9]


A rather long list of names have been proposed for subspecies, varieties and forms of Epipactis helleborine, far too many to list here.[2] This is not unusual for such a widespread species. At present (June 2014) only the following are accorded international acceptance:[1]

  1. Epipactis helleborine subsp. bithynica (Robatsch) Kreutz - Turkey
  2. Epipactis helleborine subsp. degenii (Szentp. & Mónus) Kreutz - Greece
  3. Epipactis helleborine subsp. densifolia (W.Hahn, Passin & R.Wegener) Kreutz - Turkey
  4. Epipactis helleborine subsp. helleborine - widespread
  5. Epipactis helleborine subsp. latina W.Rossi & E.Klein - Italy, former Yugoslavia
  6. Epipactis helleborine subsp. leutei (Robatsch) Kreutz - Austria, Czech Republic
  7. Epipactis helleborine subsp. levantina Kreutz, Óvári & Shifman - Turkey
  8. Epipactis helleborine subsp. molochina (P.Delforge) Kreutz - Spain
  9. Epipactis helleborine subsp. neerlandica (Verm.) Buttler - Great Britain, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany
  10. Epipactis helleborine subsp. orbicularis (K.Richt.) E.Klein - Austria, Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Baltic Republics
  11. Epipactis helleborine subsp. schubertiorum (Bartolo, Pulv. & Robatsch) Kreutz - Italy
  12. Epipactis helleborine var. tangutica (Schltr.) S.C.Chen & G.H.Zhu - China
  13. Epipactis helleborine subsp. tremolsii (Pau) E.Klein - France, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, Italy, Algeria, Morocco


  1. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Species, Epipactis helleborine
  2. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Epipactis helleborine subsp. helleborine, synonyms
  3. ^ Webb, D.A., Parnell, J. and Doogue,D . 1996. An Irish Flora. Dundalgan Press (W. Tempest) Ltd. Dundalk.ISBN 0-85221-131-7
  4. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Elleborine comune, Epipactis helleborine (L.) Crantz
  5. ^ Flora of China v 25 p 180, 火烧兰 huo shao lan, Epipactis helleborine (Linnaeus) Crantz
  6. ^ Flora of North America v 26 p 586, Epipactis helleborine (Linnaeus) Crantz
  7. ^ Biota of North America Program, county range map
  8. ^ "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". 
  9. ^ Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. 1968. Excursion Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press ISBN 0 521 04656 4


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