Featured – Non-Native Orchids

  • Epipactis helleborine

    Europe

    epipactis helleborine

    Go OrchidsOnce called the Poor Man’s Lady’s Slipper, this orchid’s native range extends across much of Europe and Asia as well as northern Africa. The stem is covered with fine hairs and the greenish-purple flowers have a curved labellum that may be purple, green or white. This orchid was introduced into North America by garden clubs in the mid-1800s who popularized this orchid not just for its attractive flowers but for its reputed medicinal properties.
    Photo © Alan Cressler

  • Epipactis helleborine

    Europe

    epipactis helleborine

    Go OrchidsThis orchid may be the poster child for non-native invasive plants. In North America, this species has widely naturalized across the Northeast and Midwest, the West Coast and extends into Canada. Found in a variety of disturbed habitats such as lawns, sidewalks, gardens, and roadsides, this species also grows in forests, swamps, and riverbeds. It grows so aggressively that some states, such as Wisconsin, consider this orchid a noxious weed. Herbicides are reported not to be effective, so digging out the underground rhizome may be the only way to control this invader. Two other non-native Epipactis species have been reported in North America.
    Photo © David McAdoo