E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Epipactis helleborine (L.) Crantz
helleborine (broadleaf helleborine)
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jo Ann MacKenzie  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #21424)

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Distribution of Epipactis helleborine
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from rhizomes and thickened roots; stems 40-100 cm tall, leafy.
Stem leaves lanceolate to egg-shaped, 6-10 cm long, ribbed, gradually reduced upward and downward.
Inflorescence terminal, somewhat 1-sided, of several showy flowers, the bracts linear to narrowly lanceolate; sepals green, purple-tinged, especially on outside, lanceolate to egg-shaped, 10-13 mm long, the lower sepals spreading to descending; lateral petals similar to sepals, 8-11 mm long, ascending or curved forward; lip 10-12 mm long, lower half pouchlike, white to pinkish outside, brown to purplish inside, upper half more or less flat, white to pinkish, with 2 thick bumps near base; column 3-5 mm long, curved over lip.
Capsules, ellipsoid, spreading to drooping, 1-1.5 cm long.
The pure white forma monotropoides (Mousley) Scoggan, previously known only from PQ (Scoggan 1978), was recently collected in the Victoria area.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry waste places, forests and fields in the lowland zone; infrequent in SW BC; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Epipactis helleborine

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
Slope Gradient (%) 9 9 9
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
45 45 45
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 5 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Epipactis latifolia (L.) All.
Serapias helleborine L.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References