John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Epipactis phyllanthes v pendula

E. phyllanthes
was first described by G. E. Smith from Sussex, England in 1852 but since that time several   varieties have been recognized, though the validity and status of some of them has been the subject of considerable professional disagreement. The situation in the UK is relatively clear with five variations being recognized, these being E. phyllanthes v cambrensis, E. phyllanthes v vectensis, E. phyllanthes v degenera, E. phyllanthes v phyllanthes and the variety described here E. phyllanthes v pendula.

Pendula is a largely northern European variety at its most frequent in Britain. Its varietal name refers to the pendulous nature of the inflorescence and is commonly known as the Green Flowered Helleborine.  

Pendula was discovered by Charles Thomas whilst walking on the Ainsdale dunes near Southport, Lancashire in July, 1941 and it was initially regarded as a full species (E. pendula). Subsequent studies linked it closely to other Epipactis species and most importantly to the Isle of White Helleborine, E. vectensis. In recent times however both this species and E. vectensis have been reduced in classification to varieties and there seems no certainty that even this status is secure. As long ago as 1962, D. P. Young noted that "there is no material dividing line,  either geographical or morphological,  between pendula and vectensis and the names are retained only for the convenience of description". Intermediate plants are not uncommon.

The distribution of pendula in the UK was at first thought to be northern but it's now known from a wider area and not least the dunes of South Wales where in one particular system it can be found growing in close proximity to both vectensis and cambrensis. It is recognizable by its robust size, fully opening flowers and most importantly the heart shaped epichile which recurves soon after the flower opens.