DavidHowdon's picture


Observed: 26th July 2009 By: DavidHowdon
Amateur Entomologists' SocietyLondon Natural History SocietySelborne Society
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Broad-leaved Helleborine
Broad-leaved Helleborine 2

An orchid, seems closest to Broad-leafed Helleborine but the multiple dense flower heads are not quite right. General consensus from experts who have seen it however is that it is just an unusually good specimen of Epipactis helleborine.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


miked's picture

Comment from another orchid

Comment from another orchid expert (not me) that this is not a 'good' specimen but a 'bad' specimen as it is so untypical!

bill riley's picture

Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine)

Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) is as close as I can get to an identification too, but this plant is not quite right. The lip is perhaps too darkly pigmented. The flowe spike is much more compact without the typical space between individual flowers. Is it perhaps a variety or hybrid?

A more skilled opinion is needed.


miked's picture

what habitat was this growing

what habitat was this growing in, it looks to me like a field margin or some other very rough area. could it have been sprayed with herbicide that did not kill it but caused it to be stunted? or alternatively it could be a mutation, somewhat strange looking mutations are relatively common in some species. yet another, but much less likely, possibility is that its a thrown out cultivated orchid as you can buy quite a few native orchids now and I would not be surprised if there are also varieties of these with various forms.

DavidHowdon's picture


It is not likely to have been sprayed with herbicide as the site it is on is a nature reserve (and has been managed as such for several years).

Hard to eliminate a thrown out cultivated orchid but generally it is far enough away from houses that it was not just chucked over someones wall - and I suspect your average orchid cultivator would not deliberately plant their orchids out in the wild.

Hybridization is always possible (I understand that Orchids are very prone to this).

Anyway a flower and bit of leaf have been sent of the Kew to have done to them whatever it is they do to plants in Kew to identify them so if I hear anything back I will post it here.