any member of either of two similar genera of orchids (family Orchidaceae): Cephalanthera, with about 14 north-temperate species, and Epipactis, with about 21 species native to north-temperate areas, tropical Africa, and Mexico. Epipactis has small, stalked flowers borne drooping on a flexible spike. Cephalanthera has larger, white or bright pink flowers that have no stalks and are held erect. Plants of both genera usually have tall, thin stems and crinkled leaves.
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