|Epipactis helleborine var: westmorlandii found 2014 (Click over to enlarge)|
We first found this special plant in 2014 although it was very feeble at first and it's got stronger each year. The photo above are from 2016. Although I do have previous years photos on record, this year has been the first time when it has actually showed its open flowers. In past years its flowers have been closed with tight bud which never opened. Although the "dangling" appearance did bring excitement.
The plant has and still is being considered by some has being Epipactis Phyllanthes (variant: probably pendula) and this is how it was provisionally recorded for the past three years. So we do have two orchid authorities who are still in favour of this title being retained, yet we do also have four other orchid authorities who are quite convinced it is a Epipactis helleborine (new variant), and one that is worthy of the name "Westmorlandii".
It has been great to have such authorities look over the plant and give me their valued opinions, although at present I still feel that there has not been any satisfactory outcome. The photos have been checked and double checked, the features have been measured, its denticulation patterns used purely as a supportive role gave a "helleborine" pattern returned, the geographical have all been considered.
I have decided to go along with "helleborine" species although obviously its a new rare variant. I don't think for one minute it is a "one off" because there have been two others in its close proximity which although very frail and weak (and one did not flower in 2016) but the other is possible of this same variety. Thankfully when the plant was receeding I did manage to get its leaf (under permit) and this will be sent off for possible DNA analysis. In the meantime for my reference I will go with Epipactis Helleborine var: Westmorlandii