Wildflowers of the Adirondack Mountains:  Helleborine Orchid (Epipactis helleborine) on the Heron Marsh Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (25 July 2012)

Adirondack Wildflowers:
Helleborine Orchid (Epipactis helleborine)

Wildflowers of the Adirondack Mountains:  Helleborine Orchid (Epipactis helleborine) on the Heron Marsh Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (25 July 2012) Adirondack Wildflowers: Helleborine Orchid (Epipactis helleborine) on the Heron Marsh Trail ((25 July 2012)

Helleborine Orchid (Epipactis helleborine) is a non-native plant which produces small purplish green flowers in the summer. Its small greenish-purple flowers are arranged in a spike-like cluster of many stalked flowers. The flower is 3.4 to one inch wide. The lower petal forms a bowl, with a greenish-purple lip. The petal color is rather variable, ranging from pale yellow green to pink to deep reddish purple, usually with darker purple veins. The leaves are oval to lance-link and alternate; they clasp the stem. The veins in the leaves are parallel. The leaves are variable in size, with the leaves becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. The stem is light green and covered with short hairs. The plant is one to three feet in height.

Helleborine Orchid is a member of the Orchidaceae (Orchid) family. It is also known as Hellebore, Helleborine, Eastern Helleborine, Broad-leaved Helleborine, and Broad-leaved Orchid.

Helleborine Orchid, the only alien orchid found in New York State, is not native to the Adirondacks or to North America. It is an escaped orchid of Eurasian origin. This plant was first reported near Syracuse, New York, in 1879. It has since spread throughout much of the northeast, as well as north to southern Ontario, west to Minnesota and south through Pennsylvania. It has become the most common woodland orchid in its range. Helleborine Orchid is not considered to pose an environmental problem in most areas and is not included in most invasive plant lists for the US, New York State, or the Adirondack Mountains. However, it is viewed as an invasive species in Wisconsin, where it has become a serious problem in Door County.

Wildflowers of the Adirondack Mountains:  Helleborine Orchid (Epipactis helleborine) on the Heron Marsh Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (25 July 2012)Adirondack Wildflowers: Helleborine Orchid (Epipactis helleborine) on the Heron Marsh Trail ((25 July 2012)

Helleborine Orchids grow in all types of woods, along roadsides, and around trees in most types of soil in the Adirondack Mountains and upstate New York. The plant can be found throughout the Northeastern United States, south to Tennessee. It can also be found along the western seaboard, including California and British Columbia.

At the Paul Smiths VIC, Helleborine Orchid may be seen along the many of the trails, including the Heron Marsh Trail, Barnum Brook Trail, Logger's Loop Trail, Boreal Life Trail, Woods and Waters Trail, and Bobcat Trail. It usually blooms in this part of the Adirondack Park from late July to late August, depending on the weather.

References

Information on Non-native Plants

Wildflowers and Flowering Shrubs of the Adirondack Park



Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.