John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Epipactis helleborine var viridiflora
 
 
E. helleborine was first described from Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany by Crantz in 1753. It is probably the commonest and most familiar of the European Epipactis and is widely known as the Broad Leaved Helleborine.

Although morphologically a highly diverse species, there are few recognized varieties and recent molecular studies seem to call even some of these into question. E. helleborine  has a huge distribution throughout Europe and Asia and occurs as far east as Siberia and the Himalayas.  It can be found in the north up to the Scandinavian countries and in the south reaches the Mediterranean and Aegean, although this southerly range is is open to question due to confusion with other related Epipactis species.  Well over a century ago it was introduced to the United States where it has spread so dramatically as to now be regarded a nuisance species.

This is an orchid that tolerates a wide range of differing climatic and soil conditions and has justifiably aquired a reputation as a species that can turn up in almost any type of habitat, even in highly urbanised areas. As a consequence of both this and its natural predisposition for variation it is frequently confused with other members of the genus. E. helleborine v viridiflora can easily be mistaken for other of the pale flowered Epipactis such as E. pontica and E. distans. Viridiflora is a variety that can occur throughout the range of the main species and the examples here were discovered growing on limestone pavement in close association with both E. helleborine and E. atrorubens.  Light phases of E. helleborine appear quite commonly but they will still show traces of reddish colouration whereas this variety is completely green/white.

The pictures come from Lancashire, England and date from the 8th of August.