Definition of helleborine in English:



  • A mainly woodland orchid occurring chiefly in north temperate regions.

    Two genera in the family Orchidaceae: Epipactis (with greenish or reddish flowers that are sometimes self-fertilized) and Cephalanthera (with larger white or pink flowers)

    • ‘And at the weekend he and a group of seven volunteers carefully dug up 73 rare broad-leaved helleborines and took them by wheelbarrow to their new home where they were replanted.’
    • ‘The helleborines are growing in the sun and in the shade, under trees and out in the open.’
    • ‘The first two pictures are marsh helleborines and the last one is a green flowered helleborine which had been discovered the day before our visit.’
    • ‘Several kinds of orchid grow here, with helleborines under the shade of trees.’
    • ‘There has been a small colony of white helleborines growing at the top of the science car park for at least two years now.’
    • ‘This is the first of our helleborines to flower, usually in mid May when it can be found in old beech woods.’
    • ‘We met the volunteer reserve manager, Richard Headley, who immediately pointed out a group of sword leaved helleborines for which the copse is most famous.’
    • ‘A search for last year's helleborines almost drew a blank, until the discovery of just three withered stems that had been completely savaged by slugs.’
    • ‘When I gardened in northern Maine, helleborine came up in the flower beds too.’
    • ‘This site is particularly important for red helleborines, one of four helleborines recorded here, and for rare snails.’
    • ‘The spectacular red helleborine orchid is distributed from Iran throughout the Mediterranean region and up to western Europe, reaching southern Scandinavia.’
    • ‘The ponds are home to Smooth and Common newts, with a variety of interesting flora covering the reserve, including broad-leaved helleborines.’
    • ‘Like many orchids, the red helleborine is capable of growing and flowering in quite deep shade and, if conditions become too adverse, it is able to lead a subterranean existence for many years until conditions become more favourable.’
    • ‘We then went to the helleborine site, which is in the verge of a farm lane which runs along a narrow strip of woodland - I had always thought the wood rather unexciting and probably not of ‘ancient’ origin, and was absolutely astonished to find these helleborines.’
    • ‘With helleborines often living in colonies and with a single plant having the ability to produce more than one stem, it is obviously impossible to count the number of individuals by the method described.’


Late 16th century French or Latin, from Greek helleborinē, a plant like hellebore, from helleboros ‘hellebore’.



/ˈhɛlɪbəˌriːn/ /ˈhɛlɪbəˌrʌɪn/