MARSH HELLEBORINE

Epipactis palustris

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]  

month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white flower8crimson flower8red flower8beetroot
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
 petalsZ3
stem
stem8round

2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Inhabits wettish older dune slacks or hollows.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Up to a foot tall; can be much shorter.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
A single stem has a mainly one-sided plume of single flowers from about 2/3rds the way up. Leaves broad and lanceolate, clasping the stem.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Basal leaves broad and lanceolate, with prominent ridges.


28th June 2011, dunes, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Single flowers drooping on reddish, thickening stalks from a single reddish upright main stem.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The flower head is clustered at the top.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have three isosceles triangular crimson or beetroot-coloured sepals set at 120° behind, an upright dorsal sepal, and two lateral sepals angled downwards. Inside of which are two smaller red and white petals and a lower lip with a ruffled white lip at the periphery.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The two upper petals (dorsal petals), reddish in the middle and white at the tips, are set either side of the vertically upwardly directed dorsal sepal. The lower lip (hypochile) is mainly white with red stripes with an extended white frilly lip (epichile) at the end hiding a bit of yellowness (caruncle).


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The frilly extended white lip (epichile) tries has an egg-yoke yellow patch (caruncle).


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The central lemon-yellow anthers are just below the yellower anther cap.The white with red-stripes hypochile holds the white lip (epichile) on the end. The egg-yoke yellow area (the caruncle) on the frilly white lip (epichile) is least hidden from this angle.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dune Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Pale-yellow anthers in centre above which is the yellow anther cap.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dune Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Yellow anther cap and frilly white epichile from the top of the flower.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
A birds-eye view; with flowers mostly on one side, and upper-stem bracts are a lighter green and much shorter than the leaves on the lower stem.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Lower stem leaves are broad with deep ridges and clasp the stem.


Variation Ocroleuca

2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Upper stem bracts are short and green. Stem is greener and with much less reddishness for the Variation: Ochroleuca. The flower is also almost devoid of red and has a much whiter appearance. As yet un-opened flowers have a hexagonal csa because the three sepals have a pronounced fold along the mid-rib.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Variation ochroleuca may have fewer flowers. The three sepals are mostly a greeny yellow rather than mostly reddish.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The lower white petal still has reddish stripes on the hypochile, but much fainter. As in the normal variety, the flower stem is covered in short hairs.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
It also has more pronounced orange markings deep within the hypochile mainly on its centre-line. The overall impression is of a yellow and white flower rather than a red and white flower.


15 Aug 2014, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Fruits are six-sided and bulbous. In the background Round Leaved Wintergreen is in fruit .


15 Aug 2014, Ainsdale Dune Slacks, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The fruits.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The three reddish crimson sepals and the frilly white extended lower lip in two sections, which has a deep egg-yolk yellow spot on its tongue. The anther cap in the centre is lemon-yellow.

No relation to : Hellebores [plants with similar name but which belong to the Buttercup Family [Ranunculaceae].

Occupies the wettish slacks of older sand dunes. Grows fairly low, less than a foot high. There is a mainly white-flowered variation called Ocroleuca which on the sand-dunes of the Sefton Coast grows concurrently with and amidst the ordinary version.


  Epipactis palustris  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
 family8Orchid family8Orchidaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Epipactis
Epipactis
(Helleborines)

MARSH HELLEBORINE

Epipactis palustris

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]  

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