AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Epipactis helleborine (Linnaeus) Crantz, Stirp. Austr. Fasc. ed. 2. 2: 467. 1769.
Homotypic Synonyms:
Serapias helleborine L., Sp. Pl.: 949 (1753).
Helleborine helleborine (L.) Druce, Bot. Soc. Exch. Club Brit. Isles 7: 689 (1924 publ. 1925), nom. inval.
Epipactis latifolia subsp. helleborine (L.) Rivas Goday & Borja, Anales Inst. Bot. Cavanilles 19: 537 (1961), nom. illeg.
Description:
Plants 25–80(–100) cm, sparsely to densely pubescent. Leaves 3–10, orbiculate, elliptic to narrowly lanceolate, 4–18 × 1.5–8.5 cm. Inflorescences racemes, loose to moderately dense, commonly 1-sided; floral bracts spreading, linear to narrowly lanceolate, 10–40(–70) mm, often exceeding flowers. Flowers 15–50, small; sepals greenish, often suffused with purple; lateral sepals 10–13 × 5–6 mm, apex oblique; petals ovate, pale green, pink, purple, or yellowish, 9–11 × 4–6 mm; lip indistinctly veined, constricted at middle into 2 parts, proximal part purplish to brownish, deeply concave, not papillose, 9–12 × 8 mm, distal part recurved, pink, broadly triangular-ovate, ± flat to tip, 5 × 5 mm; calli 2, near base, brownish, not rugose; column 3–6 mm; ovary glabrous. Capsules obovoid, 9–14 mm, glabrate to densely pubescent. 2n = 36, 38, 40, 44.
Habitat:
Epipactis helleborine grows in almost any habitat, in partial to full shade, but it is usually found under trees. It is quite widely distributed, I find it about anywhere I go, There are even five of them around my bungalow ! It is ecologically invasive and, in some places, it is considered as a weed.
Distribution:
NW. Africa, Europe to China
References:
J. Williams, A. Williams, N. Arlott (1978): A Field Guide to the Orchids of Britain and Europe.
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

In culture  In culture  In culture 
epipactis helleborine forma alba  epipactis helleborine forma alba. close up  epipactis helleborine. close up 
Photograph© Rogier
van Vugt. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Rogier
van Vugt. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Rogier
van Vugt. Image used
with kind permission.