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Ronald A. Coleman, Dieter H. Wilken & William F. Jennings, except as noted

Perennial herb, terrestrial [growing on other plants], non-green (nutrition from association of roots with fungi) or green, generally from rhizomes or tubers with few to many fleshy to slender roots; cauline leaves ± reduced to sheathing stem bracts or not. Leaf: 1–many, basal to cauline, linear to ± round, alternate to opposite (if only 1 pair), generally sessile. Inflorescence: flowers 1–many, spike or raceme, bracted. Flower: bisexual, bilateral, in bud generally rotating 180° by twisting ovary (position of parts indicated after twisting); sepals generally 3, generally free, generally petal-like, uppermost generally erect, lateral with chin- or spur-like projection (mentum) or not; petals 3, 1 (lip) different, spurred or not; stamens generally 1 (3 in Cypripedium, 2 functional, 1 a staminode), fused with style, stigma into column, pollen generally lumped, generally removed as unit by insect; ovary inferior, 1-chambered, placentas 3, parietal, stigma 3 lobed, generally under column tip. Fruit: capsule. Seed: many, minute.
± 800 genera, ± 25000 species: especially tropics (worldwide except Antarctica). Many cultivated for ornamental, especially Cattleya, Cymbidium, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum; Vanilla planifolia Andrews fruits used to flavor food. [Romero-Gonzalez et al. 2002 FNANM 26:490–651] Platanthera may be paraphyletic without inclusion of Piperia (Bateman et al. 2009 Ann Bot 104:431–445); study needed. —Scientific Editors: Ronald A. Coleman, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Luer 1975 Orchids US and Can, NY Bot Garden; Coleman 1995 Wild Orchids of California. Cornell Univ.]

Key to Orchidaceae

Leaf: cauline, alternate, gradually reduced upward, lanceolate to wide-ovate, with > 1 lengthwise fold, green, white, or pink. Inflorescence: ± 1-sided, open; flowers 4+; flower bract ± leaf-like. Flower: sepals ± alike, lanceolate to ovate, lower spreading to downcurved; lateral petals ascending or curved forward, ± = sepals in shape, color, lip not spurred, abruptly narrowed at ± middle, of 2 very different parts, proximally concave to ± pouch-like, distally grooved to ± not; column curved over lip. Fruit: spreading to pendent.
± 25 species: North America, Eurasia, northern Africa. (Greek: ancient name)

Key to Epipactis

E. gigantea Hook. STREAM ORCHID
Plant 30–70(100) cm. Leaf: 5–15 cm, lanceolate to wide-elliptic, green. Inflorescence: flowers few–20+; flower bract lanceolate to oblong. Flower: sepals ± green to ± red, ± purple-veined; lateral petals 13–15 mm, lip proximally ± green to ± yellow, veined red-purple, distally yellow, red-tinged or -veined; column 5–9 mm. Fruit: 20–28 mm.
2n=40. Seeps, wet meadows, streambanks; < 2600 m. California Floristic Province (except Great Central Valley, s Channel Islands), Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert; to British Columbia, South Dakota, Texas, Mexico. [Epipactis gigantea Douglas f. rubrifolia P.M. Br.] Mar–Oct [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Epipactis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015

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click for enlargement Epipactis gigantea
See CalPhotos for additional images
2005 Chris Wagner, SBNF

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Epipactis gigantea Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.