(pronounced: ep-ee-PAK-tiss)


Neottieae subtribe Limodorinae

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Erect leafy terrestrials. Roots fibrous, not usually branched. Leaves plicate, sessile, grading in size with the foliaceous floral bracts. Inflorescences terminal racemes. Flowers resupinate. Sepals and petals free, subsimilar. Lip unlobed or three-lobed, basally saccate, constricted at the middle (dividing the lip into a hypochile and epichile, the epichile equivalent to the midlobe). Column with a broad stigma, the anther hinged; pollinia four.


From the Greek epipaktis, the rupture-wort Herniaria glabra, an ancient name of Theophrastus for a palnt used by the Greeks to curdle milk.


A circumboreal genus of 21 species.

Care and Culture Card

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Abercrombie, R. G. 1945. Variation of the broad-leaved helleborine (Epipactis latifolia) in the Peak District. Northwest Nat. 20:226-228.

Arditti, J. ##et al. 1980. Morphometry of orchid seeds: 2. Native California, United States of America and related species of Calypso, Cephalanthera, Corallorhiza and Epipactis. Amer. J. Bot. 67(3):347-360.

Aubenas, A., K. Robatsch and A. Gévaudan 1996. Epipactis provincialis A. Aubenas & K. Robatsch spec. nov., un Epipactis ignoré de Provence. L’Orchidoph. 122:107-114.

Browser, A. E. 1960. Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) in Maine. Rhodora 62:142-143.

Coleman, R. A. 1989, Epipactis helleborine on the west coast (and a sad tale of habitat destruction). Orchid Digest 53(2):84-86.

Eaton, A. A. 1908. Epipactis, Serapias atque Serapiastrum, commutationes nomenclatoriae. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 21:63-68 (reprinted in Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 6:40-44. 1908).

Fernald, M. L. 1946. The sporadic appearance of Epipactis helleborine. Rhodora 48:88.

Griesbach, R. J. 1979. The albino form of Epipactis helleborine. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 48(8):806-809.

Hanssen, E. W. 1998. Marsh helleborine, Epipactis palustris in Norway. Blyttia 56:44-51.

Hermjakob, G. 1973. An autogamous species of Epipactis new to Greece: E. leptochila (Godf.) Godf. (Orchidaceae). Ann. Mus. Goulandris 1:99-103.

House, H. D. 1933. Distribution and spread of Serapias helleborine in New York State. Torreya 33:133-135.

Ivri, Y. and A. Dafni 1977. The pollination ecology of Epipactis consimilis Don (Orchidaceae) in Israel. New Phytol. 79:173-177.

Kalopisis, J. and K. Robatsch 1980. Epipactis cretica Kalopisis & Robatsch, spec. nov. -- eine kretischer endemt. Die Orchidee 31:141-143.

Kohns, P. 1990. Epipactis leptochila (Godf.) Godf. auch in Rheinland-Pfalz. Die Orchidee 41:142-143.

Lundqvist, A. 1965. En Olandsk Epipactis phyllanthes J. E. Sm. Svensk Bot. Tidskr. 59:###-###.

Mered’a, P. 1996. Epipactis pseudopurpurata Mered’a, spec. nova (Orchidaceae), eine neue autogame Sitter-Art aus der Slowakei. Preslia (Praha) 68:23-29.

Richards, A. J. and A. F. Porter 1982. On the identity of a Northumberland Epipactis. Watsonia 14:121-128.

Rossi, W. and E. Klein 1987. Eine neue unterart der Epipactis helleborine (L.) Crantz aus Mittelitalien: E. helleborine (L.) Crants ssp. latina W. Rossi & E. Klein subspecies nova. Die Orchidee 38:93-95.

Salmia, A. 1986. Chlorophyll-free forms of Epipactis helleborine (Orchidaceae) in SE Finland. Ann. Bot. Fennici 23:49-57.

Scappaticci, G., A. Gévaudan and K. Robatsch 1995. Epipactis fibri G. Scappaticci & K. Robatsch. L’Orchidoph. 116:83-88, 117:124-131.

Schick, B. 1989. Zur anatomie und Biotechnik des Bestaubungsapparates der Orchideen. II. Epipactis palustris (L.) Crantz und Listera ovata (L.) R. Br. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 110:289-324.

Taubenheim, G. 1975. Epipactis pontica Taubenheim spec. nov., eine neue standelwurz aus Kleinasien. Die Orchidee 26:68-74.

Tyteca, D. 1988. Orchidées du Portugal, Epipactis lusitanica sp. nov. L’Orchidoph. 84:217-222.

Tyteca, D. and M. Dufrene 1994. Biostatistical studies of western European allogamous populations of the Epipactis helleborine (L.) Crantz species group (Orchidaceae). Syst. Bot. 19:424-442.

Weberndorfer, F. and A. Waldner 1997. Epipactis distans, eine fast neue Orchidee in Tirol. Die Orchidee 48(4):170-171.

Weijer, J. 1952. The colour-differences in Epipactis helleborine (L.) Cr., and the selection of the genetical varieties by environment. Genetica 26:1-32.