Broad-leaved Helleborine

©Philip Precey

Broad-leaved Helleborine

©Philip Precey

Broad-leaved Helleborine

Scientific name: Epipactis helleborine
A tall orchid of woodland and scrub, the Broad-leaved Helleborine has greenish, purple-tinged flowers that look a little 'drooping'. Strongly veined, oval leaves spiral around its stem.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 75cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

July to September

About

The Broad-leaved Helleborine is a tall, dark orchid with leaves that spiral around the stem and purple-tinged, drooping flowers. It flowers from July to September and can mostly be seen in woodlands and scrub, but oddly prefers waste ground in and around the city of Glasgow.

How to identify

The Broad-leaved Helleborine has broad, oval leaves, with strong veins, at its base, and smaller leaves that wind their way up its stem. A single flower spike has loose clusters of 'drooping' flowers that are greenish with a purple tinge.

Distribution

Found throughout the UK, but most common in England and Northern Ireland.

Did you know?

Some species of wasp and bee that are attracted to Broad-leaved Helleborines have been noted as becoming 'intoxicated' after visiting these orchids for nectar - it appears that the flowers can contain a kind of alcohol as a result of a fungus! The bees like it so much, they come back for more, ensuring the flower is pollinated.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.