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).
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).
Associations in Sarmatic Mixed Forests
Example wildflowers or forbs seen in the forest understory in association with Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris) are: Red Campion (Silene dioica), Sand Catchfly (Silene conica), White Campion (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).
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
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Epipactis palustris
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Epipactis palustris
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
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).
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).
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
- 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.
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia. (October 2012)|
Epipactis palustris (Marsh Helleborine) is an orchid native to Europe, Turkey, north Iraq, the Caucasus, north Iran, West and East Siberia and Central Asia. This species occurs in the Sarmatic mixed forests ecoregion.
This species has a stem growing to 60 cm high with erect leaves up to 12 cm long. The flowers are 17 mm across arranged in a one-sided raceme. In the typical form, the sepals are coloured 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. Variants without most of the reddish colours of the typical form have been called E. palustris var. ochroleuca.
- "BSBI List 2007" (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families".
- "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families TDWG Geocodes".
- 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
- Webb, D.A., Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. 1996. An Irish Flora Dundalgan Press Ltd, Dundalk. ISBN 0-85221-131-7
- Davies, Paul; Davies, Paul; Huxley, Anthony (1983). Wild Orchids of Britain and Europe. London: Chatto & Windus. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7011-2642-1.
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