AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Epipactis Zinn, Cat. Pl. Hort. Gott.: 85 (1757), nom. cons.
Homotypic synonyms:
Limodorum Ludw. ex Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 671 (1891), nom. illeg.
Heterotypic synonyms:
Helleborine Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4 (1754).
Limonias Ehrh., Beitr. Naturk. 4: 147 (1789).
Arthrochilium Beck, Fl. Nieder-Österreich 1: 212 (1890).
Calliphyllon Bubani, Fl. Pyren. 4: 56 (1901).
Amesia A.Nelson & J.F.Macbr., Bot. Gaz. 56: 472 (1913).
Parapactis W.Zimm., Mitt. Bad. Landesvereins Naturk., n.f., 1: 232 (1922).
Description:
Terrestrial, occasionally saprophytic herbs with horizontal or vertical, very short rhizomes, numerous fleshy roots and simple, erect, leafy stems. Leaves ovate or lanceolate, plicate, occasionally very small. Flowers in ± secund racemes, rather inconspicuous, spreading or pendulous, shortly pedicelled. Tepals spreading or remaining closed, dull reddish or greenish. Sepals free, subequal. Petals scarcely smaller than sepals. Lip usually in 2 parts articulated by a narrow joint or fold (mesochile); the basal part (hypochile) forms a nectar-containing cup often with a pair of basal bosses; the apical part (epichile) forms a ± cordate or triangular downwardly directed terminal lobe; spur absent. Column short, flat or concave in front with a shallow cup at apex; anther free, hinged at the back of the summit of the column, behind the stigma and rostellum, ovate, slightly convex, 2-celled; pollinia 2, tapering towards their apices near which they are attached to the rostellum, each ± divided longitudinally into halves; caudicles absent; pollen grains forming’ friable masses loosely bound by fine threads; stigma prominent, broad; rostellum placed centrally above the stigma, large, globular, persistent, evanescent or absent. Capsule oblong, spreading or pendulous.
The type species:
Epipactis helleborine (L.) Crantz

Notes:
The name Epipactis is an ancient Greek word for which helleborine is an alternative.
Distribution:
Temp. & Subtrop. to Malawi
Cultivation:
Some of the European and Chinese species are grown without difficulty as pot plants. Maintained in a suitable soil mix, with proper attention to a resting period or winter conditions, they make attractive specimens in an alpine house and some-times outside. A few hybrids have also been created and are easily grown. Because of its great length the African species would be rather difficult to manage in a pot, but plants might succeed in frost-free gardens.
Species:

Epipactis africana Rendle SW. Ethiopia to Malawi.
Epipactis helleborine (L.) Crantz N. Africa, Europe to C. China.
Epipactis lusitanica D.Tyteca, C. & S. Portugal to SW. Spain, Morocco.
Epipactis tremolsii Pau, W. & C. Medit.
Epipactis ulugurica Mansf.  Tanzania (Uluguru Mts.).
Epipactis veratrifolia Boiss. & Hohen. Caucasus to Somalia and SC. China.

World Checklist of Monocotyledons. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.kew.org/wcsp/monocots/ accessed 05/07/2020
Bibliography and References:
Gevaudan A, Delforge P. 2004 Epipactis xrobatschii nothosp. nat. nov. Nat. Belg. 85. 72-76
Pedersen HA, Faurholdt N, Reinhardt J. 2004 Epipactis leptochila x phyllanthes: an unexpected new natural hybrid. Orchid Rev. 112. (1257): 151-154 (2004)