Cephalanthera is a genus of about 16 species, closely related to the genus Epipactis and both genera are known under the common name “Helleborine”. The species are annual terrestrials and distributed in all regions of Europe, North Africa and Asia. Only one species grows in North America.

Like Epipactis, all species are found in various regions of Europe, North Africa and Asia, and again, like Epipactis, Cephalanthera species are very difficult to grow because of their symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi.

The plants have fleshy roots (rhizomes) and come spring time, the new shoots appear.

The inflorescence, when compared to Epipactis species, have less, larger and better-looking, white, lilac or lilac-red flowers.

Most plants do not survive in cultivation. Most species are Protected, especially in Europe.

Bees are the cross pollinator.