Epipactis helleborine (L.) Crantz

broad-leaved helleborine

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Broad-leaved helleborine is New England's only widespread non-native orchid. It was discovered in New York in 1879 and has become an aggressive weed in some areas. In its native Europe it is pollinated primarily by wasps.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forest edges, forests, shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Number of leaves on stem
  • five
  • four
  • six or more
  • three
Form of lower petal
the labellum has a pouch-like shape
Lower petal outline
the labellum is lobed but not fringed
Main color of lower petal
  • blue to purple
  • green to brown
  • pink to red
Nectar spur
there are no nectar spurs on the flower
Inflorescence type
the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
Lower petal characteristics
the labellum is in the shape of a pouch
Lower petal length
9–12 mm
Sepal length
10–13 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Flower bract length
    10–70 mm
    Flower petal color
    • green
    • pink
    • purple
    • yellow
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowering date
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • October
    • September
    Flowers per inflorescence
    15–50
    Form of lower petal
    the labellum has a pouch-like shape
    Hairs on inflorescence axis
    the main stem of the inflorescence has hairs entirely without glands
    Inflorescence length
    100–300 mm
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
    Labellum position
    the labellum is in the lower position on the flower
    Length of narrowed base of lower petal
    0 mm
    Lobes at base of lower petal
    0 mm
    Lower petal characteristics
    the labellum is in the shape of a pouch
    Lower petal length
    9–12 mm
    Lower petal outline
    the labellum is lobed but not fringed
    Lower petal strongly red-veined
    no
    Main color of lower petal
    • blue to purple
    • green to brown
    • pink to red
    Nectar spur
    there are no nectar spurs on the flower
    Nectar spur length
    0 mm
    Number of stamens
    1
    Orientation of side petals
    • the lateral petals are angled steeply upwards
    • the lateral petals slant outward
    Pollen sacs
    the pollinia remain intact and do not fragment into smaller parts
    Self-pollinating flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on this plant
    Sepal length
    10–13 mm
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spots on lower petal
    no
    Spur opening membrane
    NA
    Spur opening shape
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Fruit length
    9–14 mm
    Seed capsule orientation
    • the capsule bends downwards or hangs downwards
    • the capsule points upwards or is angled outwards
  • Growth form
    Plant green or not
    the plant is chlorophyllous (it has green parts)
    Roots
    the rhizomes do not resemble coral
    Underground organs
    • there are only slender roots on the plant
    • this plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Bract relative length
    the bract is longer than the associated flower
    Features of leaves
    • the leaf does not have any of the mentioned special features
    • the leaf is pleated or folded back and forth along its length
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade edges
    the edges of the leaf blade have no teeth
    Leaf blade length
    40–180 mm
    Leaf blade length to width ratio
    2.1–2.7
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    Leaf blade width
    15–85 mm
    Leaves during flowering
    there are leaves on the plant when it is flowering
    Number of leaves on stem
    • five
    • four
    • six or more
    • three
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • shores of rivers or lakes

Wetland Status

Occurs only in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: UPL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Synonyms

  • Epipactis latifolia (L.) All.
  • Serapias helleborine L.

Family

Orchidaceae

Genus

Epipactis

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