Asking from New Jersey. I have a couple of these little flowering plants growing in my front yard, one in a small area surrounded by stargazer lilies and another across the yard between some ivy and a tree. The flowers just opened up within the last few days (the lilies haven't opened yet). The leaves look similar to the lily leaves, so much so that I thought it was another, smaller lily until it grew that curled-over bud cluster. It's about 12 inches tall.

Here are pictures, some of the plant in its normal curled-over state (the surrounding, taller plant leaves are from stargazer lilies), and one with me holding up the flowers to get a picture. EDIT: I added a couple pictures from other angles.

Plant in context Its flowers From above/behind From the side

  • 1
    Could you explain your first photo please: Are we talking about the smaller plant in the center, the one with the darker leaves? And the two(?) larger, lighter ones are something else, possibly Solomon's seal?
    – Stephie
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 4:37
  • Yes, the smaller one in the center. The larger, lighter plants around it are stargazer lilies.
    – loppers
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 15:03

4 Answers 4


After some extended internet research, I think this may be something known as weed orchid, or broad-leaved helleborine. I found a New York Times blog article about it: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/an-orchid-disguised-as-a-weed/?_r=0

  • Whoa...yes, this looks better for the flower. Can plants have more than one type of flower? We are looking at racemes or plumes and hangy-downy singular flowers. On the same plant?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 19:58
  • @stormy Aehm, I see only a raceme (and learned a new word)? And a leaf/flower pair all the way to the top, with increasingly smaller leaves? But I'm only a hands-on gardener, not exactly a botanist...
    – Stephie
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 20:12
  • The plant hangs strangely, but there's only one kind of flower, pointing downwards in all different directions. A couple of the buds at the top haven't opened yet. I guess I'll mark this one resolved since this seems to be what it is!
    – loppers
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 21:07

It is False Salmon Seal, I believe. False Salmonseal

  • You mean False Solomon's seal? I think you could be heading in the right direction, but the flowers here are so very special, they somehow don't match any Polygonatum or Maianthemum I can find. Has me baffeled. False Solomon's seal carry their flowers at the end of the stalk, after the leaves, this plant has flowers along the stalk, but very small leaves amd flowers clustered at the end. Hmmmm...
    – Stephie
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 16:46
  • I hate spelling incorrectly...thanks Stephie!
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 18:56
  • I thought this was a slam-dunk but why can't I understand it is NEVER a slam-dunk. Are you seeing what I am seeing? Plumes (racemes?) AND single hangy-downy (whatever) flowers on the same (?) plant?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 20:02
  • Come on! this has nothing to do with it. Stormy, you do puzzle me sometimes.
    – J. Chomel
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 12:14
  • Wish I could remember this question better but what I do remember are different pictures. These pictures I would never have questioned. Hey, that or I had a glass too much of vino! I puzzle myself all the time, J.!! I make more mistakes than most but I try not to make mistakes, grins!
    – stormy
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 18:46

Yes it is an Epipactis sp, I am not pretty sure for E. helleborine as mentionned in the "cytiroom blog" as the color and general shape of the flowers don't match well with E. helleborine, nor the leaves...



I concur, the image seems to be of a Helleborine Orchid. In regards to a previous answer please note:

Epipactis, or Helleborine, is a genus of terrestrial orchids consisting of approximately 70 species. This genus is abbreviated as Epcts in horticultural trade.

Additionally there are 13 subspecies within the Epcts genus itself. As you can see on wikipedia this plant is known to grow within the region reported.

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