Late-flowering orchid

Photo: Arne Ader
Translation: Liis
Broad-leaved helleborine

Broad-leaved helleborine   Laialehine neiuvaip        Epipactis helleborine

The flowers are in different, rather modest shades of reddish-green. The tallest of our orchids (from half a metre to one metre); in the long inflorescence there may be up to forty slightly drooping flowers. Although the plant is self-pollinating insects show interest in the flowers  - the nectar secreted in the bowl-shaped upper part of the flower lip is thought to have an intoxicating effect on them.
The broadleaved helleborine has become quite common in Estonia; difficult to explain why? It is a forest plant, growing in quite varying soil, humidity and light conditions; we also often meet it gracing road verges. The leaves are broad, from that the name. Among the orchids only the lady’s-slipper has similar leaves..
Sometimes the plant is not to be found in the spot where it grew last year because the rhizome has not grown a shoot but gathers strength in the soil for flowering in some following year with the aid of mycorrhizal fungi.




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