Epipactis dunensis   Dune Helleborine R DD N

Epipactis dunensis whole Epipactis dunensis flower Epipactis dunensis Tyne

About ten years ago I took some friends into Newborough Forest to try to find this rare helleborine. I had never found it before but had rough directions. We found it easily. As I thought about it, I wasn't at all sure we'd seen the Dune Helleborine as the plant had looked so much like Epipactis phyllanthes, the Green-flowered helleborine. Returning to the forest ten years later I couldn't find it where we had last seen it. Eventually I decided to look for the habitat first, shady areas, sandy under pine. I found it and here it is.

In 2005 a WFS meeting to Tyneside produced the unexpected bonus of a fair few Epipactis dunensis plants growing on the sandy banks of the river. The plants were about 30 cm tall and full of flowers. Growing in the open instead in shade such as those at Newborough, these plants had a more uniform yellow-green hue but the shape of the labellum and slight pinkish tinge was the same in both locations.

A few years ago the taxonomic meddlers changed its name from E. dunensis to a mere variety of E. leptochila but recently they've decided it should have been Epipactis dunensis after all.

Newborough Forest, 18th July 2004 (Left & Middle), Banks of River Tyne 3rd July 2005 (Right)

Added on January 25th 2005, amended July 4th 2005, updated 30th December 2008, updated 29th March 2010

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