Epipactis humilior (Tang & F.T.Wang) S.C.Chen & G.H.Zhu 2003

Photo by Monk


Common Name The Insignificant Epipactis

Flower Size

Found in southeastern Xizang, western Sichuan and Yunnan provinces of China in forests, on grassy slopes and swampy meadows at elevations of 2200 to 2700 meters as a miniature to small sized, cold growing terrestrial with an elongate, many noded rhizome giving rise to an erect, glabrous towards the base, rusty pubescent above stem provided with 2 to 3 basal sheaths and carrying 4 to 6, ovate-lanceolate to lanceolate, aaxially slightlly dscabrous, to glabrescent, acuminate, amplexicaul below into the base leaves that blooms in the late spring and early summer on an erect, rusty pubescent, rachis 2 to 3.2" [5 to 8 cm] long, laxly 5 to 8 flowered inflorescence with the lowermost longer than the flowers floral bracts and carrying resupinate flowers.

"Epipactis humilior is similar in floral structure to E. mairei, but its flowers are slightly smaller, with lateral sepals .52 to .68" [13 to 17 mm] long (vs. .6 to .8" [15 to 20 mm] long in E. mairei). Further, Epipactis mairei is a widespread species characterized by having a rather thick and short rhizome and usually elliptic to elliptic-ovate leaves up to 1.2 ro 3.2" [3 to 8 cm] wide and strongly scabrous adaxially. Epipactis humilior is quite distinctive by possessing a slender, creeping, elongated rhizome and ovate-lanceolate to lanceolate leaves .8 to 1.2" [2 to 3 cm] wide and scarcely or slightly scabrous adaxially. These features are of significance in the interspecific classification of Epipactis (Chen & Luo, 2002a). For example, E. helleborine, E. papillosa Franchet & Savatier, and E. mairei are never found possessing slender creeping rhizomes, while E. royleana Lindley, E. gigantea Douglas ex Hooker, and E. veratrifolia Boissier & Hohenacker(syn. E. comsimilis Wallich ex Hooker f., 1890, non D. Don, 1825, see Chen & Luo, 2000b), but the floral structure is quite different. The hypochile of the lip in E. veratrifolia is broadly grooved, without side lobes, conspicuously narrower than the epichile, and lacking lamellae adaxially, whereas in E. humilior it has erect side lobes, conspicuously broader than the epichile, and with 3 crisped lamellae on the disk. It therefore seems more reasonable to treat it as a separate species than a variety." Sing Chi Chen & Guanghua Zhu 2003

Synonyms Epipactis mairei var. humilior Tang & F.T.Wang 1951

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; NOMENCLATURAL CHANGES IN EPIPACTIS (ORCHIDACEAE) FROM CHINA Chen & Zhu NOVON 13: 423424. 2003; Flora of China Vol 25 Zhengyi, Raven & Deyuan 2009;