Giant Epipactis (Stream Orchid; Giant Helleborine; Helleborine)
Synonyms: Amesia gigantea; Limodorum giganteum; Peramium giganteum; Serapias gigantea; Helleborine gigantea
Family: Orchidaceae – Orchid Family
Perennial herbs; erect stems arising from a rhizome; 11.8" to 4.6' (3 to14 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple; leaves 2.2” to 8” (5.5 to 20 cm) long, 0.8” to 2.8” (2 to 7 cm) wide
Flowers: showy; 3 to 12 flowers; 3 petals green to rose to brownish purple; lip has strong veins marked with red or purple; petals 0.32” to 0.36” (8 to 9 mm) long, 0.28” to 0.32” (7 to 8 mm) wide; one petal (the lip) differs from the other two petals in size and coloration; lip 0.6” to 0.72” (15 to 18 mm) long; 3 sepals green to rose with purple or red nerves; sepals 0.24” to 0.32” (6 to 8 mm) wide
Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by insects
Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May June, July, August
Habitat in Arches National Park: along streams, rivers, seeps and hanging gardens
Location seen: around springs and seeps
Other: The genus name, “Epipactis”, is either from the Greek “epipaktis” or “epipegnuo”, the name adopted for this genus which was originally called “hellebore” which refers to a milk-curdling property claimed for some species. The species name, “gigantea”, means “gigantic” referring to the height of the plant.
Did You Know?
Native Americans never inhabited Arches on a year-round basis, though they certainly roamed the area searching for wild game, useful plants and rocks for tool-making. Petroglyphs near Wolfe Ranch are thought to have been created by Indians from the Ute/Paiute cultures. More...