Helleborine. Unusual plants for a damp soil, with some part shade. Leaves spiralling or alternate ip the stem. Flowers with the upper petals hooded and the lower petal, more protruding, or cup-shaped. 22 species mainly from the northern hemisphere, with around 6 native to Britain. The helleborine common name come from the leaves bearing a similarity to the white false helleborine, Veratrum album

Epipactis is a large orchid genus, but contains some of the least showy orchid flowers, in some species never opening and so automatically self-pollinating. Often found in deep shade, a number of species have reduced chlorophyll on their leaves: these make up for reduced photosynthesis by relying more strongly upon the fungi with which their roots are intimately and obligately associated to provide nutrition. The one we grow, however, bucks the trend: it is fully green and has remarkably showy flowers for the genus. These are pollinated especially by hoverflies in the western USA, including by some that also occur in Britain.

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