John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Epipactis distans
E. distans was first described from Drome, France by C Arvet-Touvet in 1872 and its name literally means  "differing from others". This species is all but endemic to France, although it creeps across the Italian border in the region of Briancon, where as with the French populations, it inhabits alpine valleys up to an altitude of around 2200 metres. 

E. distans
is a plant of the western Alps and will grow in either sun or light shade on primarily sedimentary or calcareous soils  -  particularly scree slopes that are regularly flushed with mountain run off. In France it's distribution takes in Haute-Savoie and from Isere to Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, together with a small number of isolated outposts in the Massif Central. Although this species has a quite specialized habitat requirement, its not a rarity and can in fact be abundant in its favoured sites.  Until 2004 the range of E. distans included  stations in the central massif region of Spain but studies by Pierre Delforge concluded that this population was in fact a distinct species and was then formally separated and re-described as E. molochina. It should be mentioned however that this reclassification has not met with the universal concurrence of all botanical opinion.

This species is not a particularly striking Epipactis and its relatively early flowering and distinctive habitat serve to differentiate it from other similar members of the genus. A further and very significant identification feature is as can be seen from the photographs, the obviously one sided nature of the inflorescence. 

The pictures come from Drome, France and date from the first week of July.