Cephalanthera rubra

Red helleborine; Céphalanthère rouge; Rotes Waldvögelein; Elleborine rosea

Widespread across Europe, from Great Britain eastwards, and North Africa.

A beautiful slender orchid with bright pink flowers with widely-spreading sepals and long narrow lance-shaped leaves; growing up to about 60 cm.

Usually found on lime-rich soils in open woodlands or scrub, at altitudes up to 2000 metres. The plant can probably subsist for years without producing any above-ground parts, by living entirely on its association with a mycorrhizal fungus.

Photographs: Slovenia 1989.
© Alan Hill

Click photographs for larger images.

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© National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland, 2004