Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae
Broad-leaved Helleborine is common throughout its range and grows in dark woodlands, quite often appearing very close to well trodden paths. Coniferous and Beech woodland is particularly good for Epipactis helleborine. Less common are three very rare varieties of Broad-leaved Helleborine, the purple-flowered one Epipactis helleborine var. purpurea, the white-leaved variety Epipactis helleborine var. albifolia and this one, Epipactis helleborine var. viridiflora.
Epipactis helleborine var. viridiflora is difficult to identify accurately because it is frequently confused with other Epipactis species. As its name suggests, the small flowers are predominantly green and the deeply divided lip surrounds a dark olive-green hypochile.
The plants shown on this page were found at Marford, near Wrexham in North Wales.
The specimens on the page were found in shaded areas of mixed deciduous and coniferous woodland among populations of Broad-leaved Helleborine Epipactis helleborine.
July and August are the best time to search for this confusing plant.
The genus name Epipactis is an ancient Greek name of a plant said to be capable of curdling milk (perhaps a Hellebore). The type species of this genus is Epipactis helleborine, the specific epithet of which means 'like a hellebore' - a reference to a physical resemblance in this instance. The subspecies name viridiflora means 'with green flowers'.
Pictures: Elaine Hagget...
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
If you found this information helpful, we are sure you would also like books on the Wild Orchids of Wales, of The Burren, and of the Algarve. Author-signed copies are available here...