White Helleborine is a
perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in shaded beech woodland and chalky areas, to a mature height of up to 60cm.
White Helleborine is a slow-growing orchid that grows under Beech trees. It has angular ribbed stems and ribbed leaves. Its small flowers are creamy-white and elongated with a curved tip, borne in spikes. On opening, the flowers show a yellow lip, which gives rise to the alternative common name of 'poached egg plant'. However, the flowers do not always fully open, as the plant relies mainly on self-pollination.
Botanic classification and naming: White Helleborine is a member of the Orchid (Orchidaceae) family. The genus name
'Cephalanthera' identifies the plant as a Orchid with anthers protruding from its flowerheads and its species name 'damasonium' means 'taking away (medicinal use)'.
Concerns: Orchids, like wild flowers in general, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) from being removed from the wild. Rare orchids such as the Early Spider Orchid, Monkey Orchid and Lady's Slipper Orchid are additionally protected from picking and damage. In the UK, White Helleborine is considered to be a 'vulnerable' species.
Benefits: Although mainly self-pollinating, the flowers of White Helleborine are sometimes pollinated by small bees.
Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.