Epipactis palustris (L.) Crantz

Marsh Helleborine

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Helleborine palustris, Limodorum palustre.

Epipactis palustris, the Marsh Helleborine, is widespread and forms dense colonies in its native Europe and Asia. This orchid was introduced into a limestone quarry in Pennsylvania in 2007 and now a population of over 100 plants is established. Prior to this introduction, herbarium records indicate this species was collected in central New York. This orchid bears broad funnel-shaped leaves that clasp the lower stem. The inflorescence usually has fewer flowers than other Epipactis species and are more or less tinged with a rose, red or brown coloration with a whitish labellum. This orchid grows in full sun and prefers nutrient-poor, damp to wet sites with relatively short, open vegetation.

The conservation status for Epipactis palustris has not been reported for North America but populations are declining in Europe where it is threatened by habitat drainage and the enrichment of groundwater by fertilizers.

Ecosystem Type

Fens, grassland, meadows, seeps, stream bank


Leaf arrangement:
  • alternate
  • stem
Number of leaves on stem:
  • four
  • five
  • six
  • seven or more
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is saccate
Labellum length:
10–12 mm
Plant height:
14–60 cm
Show All Characteristics

Native to North America


North American Conservation Status & Distribution

Conservation Status

Select a location to view conservation status:

Conservation and Wetland Status
Global Rank N/A
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data