Marsh Helleborine – Epipactis palustris
Widely spread and found in Europe to Southern Italy, the Balkans and North to Scandinavia. In Asia, South to Iran and Eastward through Siberia, Kazakastan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkemenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Mongolia and China from sea level up to 1600 m. In Norway Marsh Helleborine only found a few places along the Oslofjord, Hvaler, Ringerike and Jaeren. Marsh Helleborine grows in extreme rich fens or wet meadows.
Epipactis palustris was first discussed by Bishop Gunnerus Flora Norvegica in 1772 after it was found on Snåsa in Nord-Trøndelag in 1769. Botanists subsequently never doubted such a competent botanist Gunnerus, but the incidence has not been found in later. When Norway’s great botanist Axel Blytt died in 1898 he received a braided garland of Marsh Helleborine from Asker where the then existed in large quantities.
Extreme rich fens are the types of marshland that is best suited for trenching for agriculture and forestry production. Many extreme rich fens have become farmland and many localities of Marsh Helleborine have been lost. This has resulted in Marsh Helleborine is now one of our most endangered orchids and today only found in about 10 marshes. The best marshes had earlier 1 thousand thriving Marsh Helleborine, but both marshes and Marsh helleborine have disappeared.
Epipactis palustris is protected under the Nature Diversity Act and considered as endangered on the Norwegian Red List.