Epipactis is a genus of about 25-35 species terrestrial orchids found in the calcareous soils in forests and in undergrowth of the temperate and sub-tropical climates of Europe, Asia and America. The species are highly protected.

Epipactis species are difficult to grow because of their symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. This relationship also explains why certain species require less chlorophyll. Epipactis viridiflora or as it is commonly known, Violet Helleborine, can survive without chlorophyll. Species with less chlorophyll have bluish-purple leaves.

Epipactis plants have fleshy rhizomes instead of “tubers” and the new growth/shoots emerge from these rhizomes. The new shoots, can grow up to 80cm tall and have alternated leaves that are getting gradually smaller near the top.

The flower spikes appear in summer or autumn and the blooms grow from a terminal raceme.

Most species have small drooping, boring flowers that are whitish or greenish and small in size (10 – 25 mm); however, there are species with colored larger flowers, up to 50mm in size. Allegedly, the flowers of the certain species produce nectar that attracts wasps and bees and are pollinated by them.

Epipactis plants remain dormant during the winter and spring, and during dormancy they can tolerated temperatures well bellow zero.