Not to be semantically confused with :
Hellebores [plants with similar names but which belong to the Buttercup Family [Ranunculaceae]]
Hybridizes with : Violet Helleborine (Epipactis purpurata) to produce Epipactis × schulzei.
Some similarities to : Marsh Helleborine but that is much shorter.
There are several varieties:
Young's Helleborine (Epipactis Helleborine var. youngiana) but no convincing case can be made for this; it all falls within the wide variability of Broad-leaved Helleborine. Recent genetic studies reveal that it does not exist as a separate entity, and is probably cross-pollinated.
Dutch Helleborine (Epipactis Helleborine var. neerlandica) which is rather short, between 15-40cm high, and with short, stiff, more round leaves which are held nearly erect near the base of the stem which they sheath.
- (Epipactis Helleborine var. monotropoides) [also known as var. albifolia] is devoid of chlorophyll and therefore lacks green; the bulk is pale-pink to straw in colour and the flowers white or rosy. Very rare.
- (Epipactis Helleborine var. viridifolia) is devoid of anthocyanins and has pale-green flowers with a whitish-green lip and lacking in any red, purple or pink coloration. Rare.
Uniquely identifiable characteristics
Distinguishing Feature : The purplish wash on the thin part of the flower stalk as it joins the main stem.
No relation to :
Hellebores [plants with similar name which belong to the Buttercup Family [Ranunculaceae].
This Helleborine is generally the most common of the Helleborines. It grows to 80cm in woods and other shady places. Flowers, greenish-yellow to pinkish-purple, are solitary atop single stems. The leaves, which are sometimes tinged purplish, are broad, half-clasp the stem, and spiral up the stem at intervals.
Has a faint odour of honey.
Fungal associations of Helleborines
Broad-leaved Helleborine and the two Dune Helleborines (Epipactis dunensis ssp. dunensis) and Tyne Helleborines (Epipactis dunensis ssp. tynensis) have underground associations with the Ascomycetes group of fungi.
Broad-leaved Helleborine and Dark-Red Helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens) may also associate with ectomycorrhizal fungi obtaining some nutrients from trees via the fungi these are connected to, stealing the nutrients from the fungi.
Many Helleborines seem not to engage and swap nutrients with fungi, except perhaps for those occasional varieties of Helleborines which lack chlorophyll with which to photosynthesise but somehow manage; it seems that they are least are able to thrive by obtaining substantial amounts of nutrients from fungi. The chlorophyll-less variety of Violet Helleborine (Epipactis purpurata var. rosea) is assumed to get sustenance from fungi.