Orchids Wiki
Epipactis helleborine

Epipactis helleborine flowers2

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Neottieae
SubTribe: Limodorinae
Genus: Epipactis
Species: Epcts. helleborine
Binomial name
Epipactis helleborine
(L.) Crantz 1769

Epipactis helleborine is a cool growing terrestrial orchid commonly found in the wild. The orchid is native to Europe and Asia.


The plant blooms in mid to late summer, and is found usually in areas of indirect sunlight. The plant usually becomes dormant during the winter and spring. It grows to 20–80 cm tall, rarely up to a metre, with four to ten leaves arranged spirally on the stem. The flowers are produced on a spike, each flower around 2.5 cm in diameter, pale green to whitish or pinkish in colour, and usually has a lavender tint on sepals.


Epipactis helleborine is found in most of Europe except for the far north of Scandinavia, and in Asia in Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, China, eastern Himalayas, Nepal, Pakistan, western Himalayas and Bhutan in woodland area and near streams at 0 to 2500 metres elevation.


The plant usually grows in calcareous, sandy or clay soils and will grow in cool temperatures. Plants rely on rhizomes for survival which are underground. The plant will remain dormant in winter. Plant growth is somewhat correlated to rainfall. Roots rely on mycorrhiza fungus to grow. It has become an invasive species in forested areas of the United States and Canada


Image Name Description
Epipactis helleborine 21 Epipactis helleborine subsp. latina
(W.Rossi & E.Klein 1987)
Sepals and lip are more pale and less pink. Found from Italy to NW. Balkan Pen
Epipactis helleborine neerlandica Epipactis helleborine subsp. neerlandica
( (Verm.) Buttler 1986)
Sepals are pale and less pink. Lip is magenta. Found in Western Europe
Epipactis helleborine orbicularis Epipactis helleborine subsp. orbicularis
( K.Richt.) E.Klein 1997)
Green sepals and petals, Light green Lip, tall stalk. Found in Western Europe
Epipactis helleborine 1 Epipactis helleborine variant Pinkish green sehals and petals. Found in Germany Schwäbisch-Fränkische Waldberge
Epipactis helleborine 2 Epipactis helleborine variant Pinkish sepals and lip, green petals. Found in Germany Schwäbisch-Fränkische Waldberge
Epipactis helleborine 16 Epipactis helleborine variant Pink lip, green petals and sepals. Found in Germany Hohenlohe


Common Names: Brede wespenorchis (Nederlands), Breitblättrige Stendelwurz (Deutsch), Broad-leaved Helleborine (English), Épipactis à larges feuilles (Français), Heleborina de hojas anchas (Español), Дремлик зимовниковый (русский), 火烧兰 (中文)


  1. Serapias helleborine L. (1753) (Basionymum)
  2. Serapias helleborine var. latifolia L.
  3. Serapias latifolia (L.) Huds.
  4. Helleborine latifolia (L.) Moench
  5. Epipactis latifolia (L.) All. (1785)
  6. Helleborine helleborine (L.) Druce (1925)


PDF iconEpipactis helleborine shows strong mycorrhizal preference towards ectomycorrhizal fungi with contrasting geographic distributions in Japan

PDF iconSelfing potential in Epipactis palustris , E. helleborine and E. atrorubens (Orchidaceae)

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