johndal (CC BY-SA 2.0)
British Wildlife 33.2 November 2021

Dull flowers and dazzling insects – the story of pollination in one of our less glamorous orchids

Although perhaps not particularly attractive compared to our other showier orchid species, the Broad-leaved Helleborine does have an interesting pollination story. Dave Morgan explores this, describing the relationship between insects, primarily social wasps, and the Broad-leaved Helleborine.

The Broad-leaved Helleborine Epipactis helleborine is widespread but not common, with populations made up of widely scattered individuals or small colonies. Owing to its dull greenish flowers and its preference for growing in shady corners, it is a rather inconspicuous plant. It can spread vegetatively but, because its rhizome growth is very short indeed, this results in a tight clump of plants.

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