Giant Helleborine, Epipactis gigantea

Posted January 30, 2012 | Categories : 42,ER,Photos,Rare Species,Reports,Warden Reports |

Mara Meadows was set aside as an ecological reserve largely because of the unique variety of orchid species in this calcareous fen.  Giant Helleborine, Epipactis gigantea is a blue listed orchid and is also called  Stream Orchid.  Over the last two summers many new plant locations have been found and there are hundreds of plants hidden around the meadows.

Where do giant helleborines grow?

  • They are found locally in many different habitats where there is a constant source of mineral-rich water at the roots, including wet areas around hot springs and mineral springs, at the base of slopes, open wetland areas and near streams.
  • In BC, giant helleborine are found at several sites in the south-central and south-eastern areas of the province.

What are we doing that harms giant helleborines?

  • In BC, this plant likes the same sort of habitat – hot springs, mineral springs and lakeshores – that people like for holidays, so the biggest threat is loss of habitat from human development

Wacky fact

  • One common name for giant helleborine is the “chatterbox orchid” because the long lip vibrates in slight breezes and makes a persistent low sound.
  • Syrphid flies are one of the pollinators of giant helleborine flowers.  Syrphid fly larvae are voracious eaters of aphid pests .






Photo by: Phil McIntyre-Paul

Posted by John Coffey.