John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe

Home The genus Epipogium               

         Origin: Epipogium literally translates to "above lip", referring to the lips position.

The species:-
E. aphyllum

This is a genus with just two species of which  only E. aphyllum is found in Europe, the other species E. roseum occurs widely in the tropical forests of Asia and Africa.

The species are both saprophytic and depend entirely on mycorrhizal fungus for their nutrition. The underground system  comprises a coral-like rhizome which is surrounded by fine hair (they do not have roots). Propagation is vegetative by means of a wide network of stolons that form buds at their tip, which in turn develop into new plants that separate as the original dies.

The flowers are scented and visited by pollinating insects although seed is rarely produced. The pollination mechanism is robust and requires an amply proportioned insect to achieve success.  Bumble bees seem to  be the ideal attendant.