Epipactis helleborine var. viridiflora - Broad-leaved Helleborine

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae

Epipactis helleborine var. viridiflora

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.

Epipactis helleborine var. viridiflora


The specimens on the page were found in shaded areas of mixed deciduous and coniferous woodland among populations of Broad-leaved Helleborine Epipactis helleborine.

Flowering times

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...

Reference sources

The Plant List

Sue Parker (2023) Wild Orchids of Wales - how, when and where to find them; First Nature e-book (Amazon Kindle format)

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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