Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae
The flowering of Green-flowered Helleborine is sporadic and the fact that it blends in so well with its background makes it one the most difficult orchids to find. Its appearance is also variable making accurate identification very problematic.
The plant grows up to about 40 cm in height with a series of well-spaced leaves in facing ranks on either side of the stem. The inflorescences have around 20 individual flowers which seem to be almost permanently in bud. When the flowers do open they only open partially revealing a paler green lip which may sometimes be flushed with pink.
The variability of this species has led to plants in some areas being described as varieties of Epipactis phyllanthes including Epipactis phyllanthes var. vectensis, Epipactis phyllanthes var. cambrensis and Epipactis phyllanthes var. pendula
The range of this plant is rather difficult to determine with any degree of accuracy because it is frequently confused with other Epipactis species.
Epipactis phyllanthes occurs in scattered colonies throughout England in Dorset, Kent, Norfolk and Cumbria. In Wales it occurs in some coastal dune systems, particularly at Kenfig National Nature Reserve, Whitford Burrows and Morfa Dyffryn. In Flintshire it occurs in woodland. In Ireland there are sites in Co. Dublin, Leitrim and Fermanagh.
Epipactis phyllanthes is also recorded in parts of western Europe from Denmark south to Belgium, France and northern Spain.
Green-flowered Helleborine grows in coastal dunes and woodlands. In deepwoodland the plants are sometimes shorter and have fewer flowers.
Green-flowered Helleborine flowers from July to September.
The Plant List
Sue Parker (2016) Wild Orchids of Wales - how, when and where to find them; First Nature
Anne and Simon Harrap (2005) Orchids of Britain and Ireland; A&C Black
Pierre Delforge (2005) Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East; A&C Black
Den Nordiska Floran (1992) Bo Mossberg, Stefan Ericsson and Lennart Stenberg; Wahlstrom & Widstrand
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