John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Epipactis dunensis
 
 
This species was first described from Lancashire, England in 1918 and as it name suggests is largely though not excusively an orchid of sand dune systems, primarily in the north west of England and Wales. E. dunensis cannot be described as an attractive orchid and the fact that the flowers never fully open contribute to the species overall dullness.

The sepals and petals never completely reflex and remain in a forward pointing position, thereby partially shielding the heart shaped epichile. This has no particularly detrimental affect on the species as it is a self pollinator witn no need to attract any insect partners.

The common name for this orchid is unsurprisingly the Dune Helleborine but unlike most of its fellow dune dwellers , it does not favour the wetter areas of the slacks but rather it tends to grow on the higher and  more stabilised ground amongst willow scrub or pine plantations.  Plants growing in open situations can be relatively weedy and yellowish whereas those from shadier areas are sturdier and more colourful. As  has already been mentioned, this species is endemic to the  north western coastlines of England and Wales, although for many years it was thought to have populations in northern continental Europe. This was
subsequently found  not to be the case and it now seems certain that reports from more  southerly regions 
of the continent refer to E. muelleri  to which it bears a strong resemblance.

The photographs here come from Newborough Warren in North Wales and Ainsdale Dunes in Lancashire, dating from the first week of July.