Epipactis sancta   Lindisfarne Helleborine RRR DD N Endemic

Epipactis sancta whole Epipactis sancta close

So new that it doesn't feature in Stace Vol 2, this plant was only characterised through genetic work by Squirrell et al. in 2002. Until that time it had been variously named Epipactis dunensis, Epipactis leptochile var dunensis and even at one time Epipactis pietzii. Professor Bateman, who does a great deal of work looking at the genetics of our British Orchids, has identified some morphological features which might, to the discerning eye, make the Lindisfarne Helleborine appear different from other closely related species in the field. I hope it works for him because with my relatively untrained eye Epipactis sancta looks much the same as Epipactis dunensis.

Perhaps statistically, if you were to examine say 20 or 30 Epipactis dunensis and Epipactis sancta specimens you would find consistent differences rather than the normal variations you get through growing conditions etc. However on our trip we saw possibly 10 altogether and went to the main sites so that wouldn't work either.

I'm sure the geneticists are right and I look forward to purchasing a pocket genetics kit allied with a satellite mobile phone link to the necessary database.

I estimate that I shall be able to do this on my 289th birthday.

Distribution? Holy Island in one or two patches only and it's an endemic too. Stace would have had to give it RRR if only he'd known.

Holy Island (Lindisfarne), Northumberland 15th July 2006

Added on 4th August 2006 updated 1st January 2009, updated 29th March 2010