Epipogium Borkh.
  • Borkh., Tent. Disp. Pl. German.: 139 (1792)
  • huldreblomslekta

This is a synonym of Epipogiinae Schltr.

General Description

Leafless, saprophytic herb lacking chlorophyll; rhizome tuberous.Scape erect with a few basal sheaths; inflorescence terminal.Tepals free, subequal; lip spurred, concave with verrucose crests.Column and anther short; pollinia 2, sectile, each with a slender, curved caudicle and a single broad viscidium.Stigma broad, prominent; rostellum absent.Capsule ovoid, pendulous, developing quickly.

Leafless, achlorophyllose, saprophytic herbs with scape arising from tuberous rhizome. Scape simple, erect, with a few basal sheaths. Inflorescence terminal, lax. Flowers pedicellate. Tepals subequal, free. Lip wider than tepals, spurred, concave, with finely warted crests. Column short; anther short, broad; pollinia 2, sectile, each with a slender curved caudicle attached to a single broad viscidium; stigma prominent, broad; rostellum absent. Capsule ovoid, pendulous.

Holomycotrophic, terrestrial herbs. Rhizome tuberous or obscure but with coralloid roots, covered in root hairs. Stem erect, lacking chlorophyll. Leaves reduced to buff or whitish scales. Inflorescence racemose, ephemeral, lasting about 10 days before withering, rachis terete. Flowers pendent, non-resupinate or resupinate, often self-pollinating. Sepals and petals subsimilar, connivent or spreading, free, lanceolate. Labellum sessile, entire, with a 2–6-rowed lamellate, papillose, or bearded longitudinal callus, spur basal, shorter than labellum. Column fleshy, clinandrium membranous; anther incumbent, pollinia two, granulose, clavate, deeply dissected, with slender caudicles and small viscidia; rostellum broad. Ovary ellipsoidal, ribbed.


Epipogium grows in a wide range of habitats that have sufficient rainfall and accumulations of organic material in the soil to sustain the mycorrhizal fungus associated with the subterranean rhizomes. Species of the genus are most frequently found in dense to open forest but sometimes also occur in grassland. Inflorescences emerge after a period of heavy rain and mature within a matter of days (Docters van Leeuwen 1937; Jones 1988). Individual colonies tend to persist at the same location for only a few years, and their rapid flowering and seed set means they are often overlooked by collectors.


Epipogium is a small genus of two, or possibly three widespread species in temperate Europe and temperate and tropical Asia, south to the Malay Archipelago, the Philippines, and northeast Australia.


There are no known uses for Epipogium.


Tent. Disp. Pl. German.: 139 (1792).

Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl. 330, 331 (1810); F.T.A. 7: 188.

Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl.: 330, 331 (1810)

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Kenya
  • Uganda
  • South Tropical Africa Angola
  • Malawi
  • West Tropical Africa Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Nigeria
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Gulf of Guinea Is.
  • Zaire
  • Asia-Temperate Caucasus North Caucasus
  • Transcaucasus
  • China China North-Central
  • China South-Central
  • China Southeast
  • Hainan
  • Inner Mongolia
  • Manchuria
  • Tibet
  • Xinjiang
  • Eastern Asia Japan
  • Korea
  • Nansei-shoto
  • Taiwan
  • Russian Far East Amur
  • Kamchatka
  • Khabarovsk
  • Primorye
  • Sakhalin
  • Siberia Buryatiya
  • Irkutsk
  • Krasnoyarsk
  • Tuva
  • West Siberia
  • Yakutskiya
  • Western Asia Turkey
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Assam
  • East Himalaya
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • West Himalaya
  • Indo-China Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malesia Borneo
  • Jawa
  • Lesser Sunda Is.
  • Malaya
  • Maluku
  • Philippines
  • Sulawesi
  • Sumatera
  • Papuasia New Guinea
  • Solomon Is.
  • Australasia Australia New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • Europe Eastern Europe Baltic States
  • Belarus
  • Central European Russia
  • East European Russia
  • Krym
  • North European Russia
  • Northwest European Russia
  • South European Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Middle Europe Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Switzerland
  • Northern Europe Denmark
  • Finland
  • Great Britain
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Southeastern Europe Bulgaria
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Romania
  • Yugoslavia
  • Southwestern Europe France
  • Spain
  • Pacific Southwestern Pacific Fiji
  • New Caledonia
  • Vanuatu

Common Names

huldreblomslektaNorwegian Bokmål
huldreblomslektaNorwegian Nynorsk


 Information From

Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
OpenUp Common Names
Common Names from the OpenUp! Common Names Service
  • D All Rights Reserved
WCS higher taxonomy
  • E All Rights Reserved
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • F See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.