Red Helleborine
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Red Helleborine
P Native Photo: Anzar Khuroo
Common name: Red Helleborine
Botanical name: Epipactis royleana    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Helleborine royleana, Amesia royleana, Cephalanthera royleana

Red Helleborine is a terrestrial orchid native to the Himalayan mountains, 30-80 cm tall. It has ribbed and elongated green leaves, 10-15 cm long. In late spring or early summer, erect inflorescences appear, each carrying several beautiful flowers of a red-purple color. Sepals and petals are pale green, lip purple or pink with purple or dark red venation; flower-stalk and ovary 1.3-1.6 cm, brown velvet-hairy. Sepals are ovate to elliptic-ovate, 15-18 x 5-7 mm; lateral sepals oblique, slightly wider than dorsal sepal. Petals are ovate-elliptic, 13-16 x 6-8 mm, tip blunt; lip 1.4-1.8 cm, without a mesochile; hypochile boat-shaped, 7-10 x 14-18 mm, with erect, elliptic lateral lobes 5-7 mm wide; epichile narrowly ovate-elliptic, 9-10 × 4-5 mm, with a pair of fleshy, nearly round calli on lateral veins toward margins and occasionally with minute protuberances centrally. Column is 4-7 mm. Red Helleborine is found in wet meadows of the Himalayas, and E. Afghanistan to Central Asia, at altitudes of 2900-3000 m. Flowering: July-August.

Identification credit: Anzar Khuroo Photographed in Kashmir.

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