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,
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
Ash saplings on slag heaps from coal mining or on gangue materials from other kinds of mines.