Alphabetical Plant Listing

Epipactis palustris (Marsh Helleborine)

Marsh Helleborine, Helleborine palustris, Limodorum palustre


Epipactis palustris (Marsh Helleborine) is a rhizomatous, terrestrial orchid with one-sided racemes of up to 25 small flowers presenting a variable combination of brownish-purple and creamy-green shades. Blooming in summer, the delicate blossoms are borne on a green stem, flushed pink-to-brown, that can reach 24 in. (60 cm). This orchid bears broad funnel-shaped leaves, 4-5 in. long (10-12 cm), sometimes flushed purple, that clasp the lower stem. Approximately two months after flowering, the foliage fades, then disappear completely with the arrival of winter. Highly vigorous, Marsh Helleborine spreads by rhizomes and self-seeding to form large colonies over time. Native to Europe and Asia, Marsh Helleborine grows naturally in fens, grassland, meadows, seeps, along stream banks. In its native Europe, populations are declining where this orchid is threatened by habitat drainage and the enrichment of groundwater by fertilizers. The plants are protected by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention).

  • Grows up to 12-24 in. tall and wide (30-60 cm).
  • Performs best in consistently moist to wet, neutral to alkaline, well-drained soils in full or light shade. Soils should not be allowed to dry out.
  • A lovely addition to cottage gardens, rain gardens, near ponds and streams.
  • Virtually disease free
  • Propagate by division in spring.
  • Native to Europe and Asia.

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Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Plant Type Orchids, Perennials
Plant Family Epipactis - Helleborines
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 12" – 24" (30cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Wet Soil
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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Andrew Fletcher, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Plant Type Orchids, Perennials
Plant Family Epipactis - Helleborines
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 12" – 24" (30cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Wet Soil
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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