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Overview

Brief Summary

Marsh helleborine is a rare plant with beautiful flowers and legally protected. The plant needs an alkaline, nutrient-poor and wet environment and grows preferably in sunny places. These orchids are mostly found in marshy dune slacks, where they blossom in massive numbers. The Dutch name 'moeraswespenorchis' (marsh wasp orchid) refers to the habitat where it grows and one of the major insects that pollinate the flowers. Marsh helleborine is found on the Wadden Islands, in the North Holland dunes and in the delta region. It is often found together with another rare orchid species, the fen orchid.
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Distribution

Range Description

Epipactis palustris is found in the temperate and sub-meridional zones of Europe and Asia. In Europe, the species grows from Denmark, southern Scandinavia and the Baltic States in the north to Portugal, northern Spain, southern Italy, central Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Corsica and Sicily in the south. The species is rare in the boreal and meridional zones (Scandinavia, southern Italy, Balkans). The species extends its range to Turkey (throughout) and northern Iran, and eastwards to Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia. Epipactis palustriscan be found from the lowlands up to 2,100 m altitude (Delforge 1995, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al.2008). In Georgia, Epipactis palustris is found in Javakheti (southwest Georgia) and in Gombori in gorges of the river Lori (east Georgia).

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology

Epipactis palustris is found in damp grassland, seepages, springs, dune slacks, spring-fed rich fens and freshwater ponds. The species prefers damp to wet sites with mostly neutral to alkaline groundwater and relatively short, open vegetation. The species grows in full sun (Delforge 1995, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al.2008).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Associations

Associations in Sarmatic Mixed Forests

The Sarmatic mixed forests ecoregion stretches from northwestern Europe to the Ural Mountains in Russia and represents one of the broadest longitudinal expanse of any ecoregion of the Earth. Dominant canopy species include Scots pine and Norway spruce (Picea abies) intermixed with some broadleaf species such as (Quercus robur). There are a number of shrubs, wildflowers, grasses and mosses that inhabit the mid-tier and forest floor. Common low-growing shrubs include Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and Heather (Calluna vulgaris).

Example wildflowers or forbs seen in the forest understory in association with Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris) are: Red Silene dioica), Sand Catchfly (Silene conica), White Silene latifolia), Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) and Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis). In some fens within forest clearings the Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre) is found.

Other associates in the Sarmatic forests include some widespread ferns seen on forest floors such as Western Brackenfern (Pteridium aquilinum) and Mountain Bladderfern (Cystopteris montana). Common mosses found in the more mesic soils are Broom Forkmoss (Dicranum scoparium), Stairstep Moss (Hylocomium splendens), Red-stemmed Feathermoss (Pleurozium schreberi), Ostrich Plume (Ptilium crista-castrensis) and Common Hair Moss (Polytrichum commune).
  • C.Michael Hogan. 2011. "Sarmatic mixed forests". Topic ed. Sidney Draggan. Ed.-in-chief Cutler J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment http://www.eoearth.org/article/Sarmatic_mixed_forests
  • U.G.Bolub Bohn and C. Hettwer. 2000. Reduced general map of the natural vegetation of Europe. 1:10,000,000. Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Bonn.
  • World Wildlife Fund. 2001. Sarmatic mixed forests. (PA0436).
  • C.Michael Hogan. 2009. Marsh Thistle: Cirsium palustre. GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N.Strömberg.
  • H.Sjors. 1999. Swedish plant geography: The background: Geology, climate and zonation. Acta Phytogeogr. Suec. Uppsala: Opulus press, 84:5-14.
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Plant / pollenated
worker of Apis mellifera pollenates or fertilises flower of Epipactis palustris

Plant / pollenated
Insecta pollenates or fertilises flower of Epipactis palustris

Foodplant / parasite
aecium of Melampsora epitea parasitises Epipactis palustris

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Epipactis palustris

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Epipactis palustris

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
Matchutadze, I.

Reviewer/s
Lansdown, R.V. & Smith, K.

Contributor/s
Rankou, H.

Justification
Epipactis palustris is widespread and often found in dense colonies. Overall, the populations are declining, but the existing threats are unlikely to cause the populations to decline severely in the near future. Therefore, Epipactis palustris is assessed as Least Concern.
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Population

Population

Epipactis palustris is rather widespread and often found in dense colonies which are largely clonal. The species is rare in the boreal and meridional zones (Scandinavia, southern Italy, Balkans). The population has a decreasing trend (Delforge 1995, Pignatti 1982, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).


Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats

The population has a declining trend due to drainage, water abstraction, destruction of fens and marshes and eutrophication. The enrichment of groundwater by fertiliser has caused suitable fens to become overgrown with vigorous vegetation and the abandonment of grazing or mowing increases this invasion. In addition, the species is affected by tourism (collection from the wild) (Delforge 1995, Pignatti 1982, Vakhrameeva et al.2008).


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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions

All orchid species are included under Annex B of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Epipactis palustris is included in the following national red lists:

  • Endangered in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Norway and Finland
  • Vulnerable in Germany
  • Near Threatened in France and Hungary
  • Least Concern in Denmark, Switzerland and the United Kingdom
The species is protected in several countries, such as Belgium and Luxembourg, at the national level and at the regional level in France. It is protected in Northern Ireland under Schedule 8 of the 1985 Wildlife Order (NI). The following actions are recommended to protect Epipactis palustris;
  • Protection of the habitat from ploughing, agricultural uses and extensive use of fertilisers.
  • Management of grazing to control the overgrowth of fens by other vigorous vegetation.
  • Water regime must be ensured, drainage of fens should be avoided, and provision of small dams may be necessary to avoid drying out of the site in spring.
  • Sympathetic management of isolated populations.
  • Fencing vulnerable sites.
  • Raise public awareness.
  • Protection of the living individuals through legislation which bans the species from being picked or dug up.
  • Ex situ conservation: artificial propagation, re-introduction, seed collections.
  • Monitoring and surveillance of the existing populations and sites.
  • Estimate the population size and study their dynamics.
(Delforge 1995, Pignatti 1982, Akhalkatsi et al. 2004, et al. 2008).
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Wikipedia

Epipactis palustris

Flower

Epipactis palustris (Marsh Helleborine) is an orchid native to Europe, Turkey, north Iraq, the Caucasus, north Iran, West and East Siberia and Central Asia.[1][2] This species occurs in the Sarmatic mixed forests ecoregion.[3]

Description[edit]

This species has a stem growing to 60 cms high with erect leaves up to 12 cms long. The flowers are 17 mm across arranged in a 1- sided raceme. The sepals are colored deep pink or purplish-red, the upper petals shorter and paler. The labellum at least as long as the sepals, white with red or yellow spots in the middle.[4]

References[edit]

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