The helleborine is an orchid with a heavy reliance on fungi.
It's flowers differ slightly from "normal" orchids with
the plant being typically taller and thinner than other
Marsh Helleborine 07
Kenfig NNR, Wales, June
One of the most attractive plants in the UK, in my opinion.
It occurs locally but usually en-masse in good marshy habitat.
Dark Red Helleborine 06
Dark Red Helleborine 11
Dark Red Helleborine 02
Co. Durham, July 2008.
An outrageously colourful helleborine that grows on thin
calcareous soils in July. A real stunner.
Dune Helleborine 01
Lindisfarne Helleborine 02
Helleborines tend to be bland in colour....and also controversial.
Left is a dune helleborine growing on toxic waste dumps
in the North Pennines. Right is on a dune. Both photographed
in early July 2008.
However, neither is considered a true dune helleborine anymore!
The left is often called the Tyne Helleborine, the right
is the Lindisfarne Helleborine. Both are considered
full species by some. Below you can see the difference
is in the detail .... maybe! This sort of minor variation
used to be called "variants" until the DNA bandwagon allowed
scientists to publish papers like it were toilet roll!!
Dune Helleborine 07b
Lindisfarne Helleborine 04
White Helleborine 11
White Helleborine 14
White Helleborine 08
Herefordshire, June 2008.
The flowers of the white helleborine hardly ever open, but
nevertheless is a subtly attractive plant that grows in
the gloomy shadows of beech woodland. The top photo
is not a flashed photo but natural light falling on the
flower but not the dark tree behind.
Narrow Lipped Helleborine 1 (S)
Oxfordshire, July 1999.
A scare and declining plant found in ancient beech woodland.
It doesn't like light or ground cover, hence conspicuous
where it grows, and therefore, easy to graze by sheep or
Broad Leaved Helleborine 2 (S)
Broad Leaved Helleborine 02
Ryton Woods, Warwickshire,
Usually spindly, weak looking and difficult to photograph.
Red Helleborine 04
One of the rarest orchids
in the UK. Here is one of three plants that flowered
the Orchid Guide