NARROW-LIPPED HELLEBORINE

Epipactis leptochila

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8cream
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round

22nd July 2011, Aston, Clinton, Bucks. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
Between 15 to 60cm high. Often with multiple stems. Broad evergreen leaves peel off the lower stems on alternate sides, becoming narrow higher up the stem.


22nd July 2011, Aston, Clinton, Bucks. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
The flower spike comprises up to 25 flowers all around the stem. Flowers nodding downwards.


22nd July 2011, Aston, Clinton, Bucks. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
The green suffused-mauve petals and sepals are here redder than normal, probably as a result of exposure to strong sunlight for extended periods.


22nd July 2011, Aston, Clinton, Bucks. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
The shape of the flowers depends entirely which population is observed, Southern populations being different to Scottish populations but in South Tyne both types can be found. In Southern populations, as here, the epichile (the pink 'tongue' at the end of the 'boat' (actually the hypochile) in this photo) is very long, pointed but not reflexed at the end [In Scottish populations the epichile is shorter and usually reflexed].


22nd July 2011, Aston, Clinton, Bucks. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
The sepals and petals are long and pointed.


22nd July 2011, Aston, Clinton, Bucks. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
The epichile of Narrow-lipped Helleborine has two pink bosses where it attaches to the hypochile (which is brownish and looks like boiling brown sugar in the photo). The epichile also has a shallow groove down half of the centre.


Not to be semantically confused with : Narrow-Leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) [a plant with similar name which although another Helleborine belongs to a differing Genus and which has white which are inclined upwards]

Dune Helleborine (Epipactis dunensis) was once thought to be a variation of Narrow-lipped Helleborine, hence its former name Epipactis leptochila var. dunensis but it is now known to be entirely separate in its own right. In many ways it is similar to Dune Helleborine, but there are important subtle differences.

Easily mistaken for : all other Epipactis Genera apart from Marsh Helleborine. That is, Dark-Red Helleborine, Dune Helleborine, Broad-Leaved Helleborine, Green-flowered Helleborine, Violet Helleborine and Lindisfarne Helleborine and two hybrids between different Helleborines.

In the south of the UK the lower lip (epichile) of the flower is extremely long, pointed and not reflexed, but in the north in Scotland it is shorter and often reflexed. In the South Tyne where these photos were taken both types of lips can be found.

The shape of the flowers depends entirely which population is observed, Southern populations being different to Scottish populations but in South Tyne both types can be found. In Southern populations, as here, the epichile (the pink 'tongue' at the end of the 'boat' (actually the hypochile) in this photo) is very long, pointed but not reflexed at the end [In Scottish populations the epichile is shorter and usually reflexed]. The two populations also favour differing habitats. Southern populations are strongly calcicolous (thriving only on lime-rich soils) in fairly dense chalk woodland of Hornbeam or Beech. Scottish populations differ entirely, preferring heavy-metal polluted river gravels (such as zinc or lead) underneath Birch or Alder trees. Also under new Oak, Birch or Ash saplings on slag heaps from coal mining or on gangue materials from other kinds of mines.


  Epipactis leptochila  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
 family8Orchid family8Orchidaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Epipactis
Epipactis
(Helleborines)

NARROW-LIPPED HELLEBORINE

Epipactis leptochila

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]