Cephalanthera rubra - Red Helleborine

Scientific Name: Cephalanthera rubra. 'Kephale' is Greek for head, and 'anthera' is botanical Latin for the part of the flower which contains the pollen, so Cephalanthera are characterized by pollen recepticles that look like a head. 'Rubra' is from the Latin for 'red', a reference to the flower colour.

English Name: Red Helleborine

French Name: Céphalanthère rouge or Elléborine rouge (ie Red Cephalanthera or Red Helleborine).

5 Key Characters:
  • Flowers strong rose pink
  • Usually single isolated plants
  • Tongue like lower petal is sharply pointed
  • Quite large flowers that open wide
  • Long narrow green leaves, spaced well apart and set alternately on one side and then the other of the stem
Lookalikes: Unmistakeable.

Habitat: Hillside ledges, densely to semi-shaded forest and forest edges, well drained calcareous soil, warm forests, especially with Downy Oak or Beech.

Flowering Period: May-June-July.

Status: Protected and rare in the area covered by this website, but can be seen within 5km of Preuilly. It is threatened in this area by the increasing replacement of broadleaf forest with conifers.

Recorded by Loire Valley Nature:

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