CORALROOT ORCHID

Corallorhiza trifida

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8green
 
inner
inner8white
 
inner
inner8red
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ1
3-lobed
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
rarity
rarityZscarce
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

22nd June 2015, Slovenia Photo: © Simon Melville
Grows to 20cm (sometimes up to 30cm). The flowers are in a short spike mostly near the top yellowish-green with a short white petal just protruding.


Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
You can just about see the single white (to cream) petals in various poses barely emerging from the yellowish-green outer parts which have between 2 to 4 'teeth-like' sepals. The flowers usually number less than 13 and are curled over mostly drooping downwards at their ends.


12th June 2012, Bavaria. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Here the teeth-like sepals seem to number 4(?), with two much longer that the other 2 which form a loose 'hood' at the top.


22nd June 2015, Slovenia Photo: © Simon Melville
Here there are 4 sepals too, the lower only slightly longer than the upper two. The white (to pale green) flower has a long lip with dark-red splodges on it. The petal lip has 3 short lobes at the end.


Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The long lip (labellum), which is about 5mm long with dark-red markings, has 3 short lobes at the end. At the top of the flower, and unseen on any of these photos, are the lid-like anther, the four waxy and yellow pollinia, a small rostellum and two viscidia.


26th July 2016, Hraun, Iceland Photo: © Simon Melville
Showing the green to mahogany coloured ovary (being the bulge near the very short and twisted 'stalk'. It derives its name, Coralroot Orchid, from the unseen (and shallowly underground) disc-like 'roots' which presumably remind someone of corals, but your Author, having never seen any corals, couldn't say one way or another.


Not to be semantically confused with : Coralroot (Cardamine bulbifera) [a plant with similar name in a differing family]. Nor with Pinnate Coralroot (Cardamine heptaphylla), Coral Stonewort (Chara tomentosa), Coral Spurge (Euphorbia corallioides), Coral-bells (Heuchera micrantha), Coral-necklace (Illecebrum verticillatum) nor Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus).

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Flower () [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

This is a [RR] rare plant in England, occuring in Cumbria and northwards from there, mostly in damp shaded woods with Willows and Alder Carr on raised bogs (which apparently does not include Kinder Scout - the first bog your Author encountered on walks - which, although about 2000' high, apparently is not a raised bog! - You could have fooled me! It can also be found on the edges of lakes or in dune slacks - if the latter the flower and plant is usually of darker shades: purplish or brownish.

 Parasitic Plants Coralroot Orchid is one of the very few plants which are 'Saprophytic' (really myco-heterotrophic), lacking chlorophyll and quite incapable of synthesizing it, so must obtain essential plant-building compounds to survive from other organisms, in this case fungi.


  Corallorhiza trifida  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
 family8Orchid family8Orchidaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Corallorhiza
Corallorhiza
(Coralroot Orchid)

CORALROOT ORCHID

Corallorhiza trifida

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]