Corallorhiza maculata (Raf.) Raf. - Spotted Coralroot


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Corallorhiza maculata - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Orchidaceae






Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia, south to MD and IN, in mountains to NC, and in the west to Mexico and Central America.


Mycoheterotrophic perennial; stem 20-60 cm, often pink-purple; inflorescence 5-15 cm; flowers 10-40; sepals and lateral petal narrowly oblong to oblanceolate, 6-8 mm, 3(5)-nerved, the lateral sepals somewhat divergent, the lateral petals typically spotted or suffused with purple; spur a prominent, sometimes divergent swelling near the tip of the ovary; lip 6-8 mm, white, usually purple-spotted, with two small but evident lateral lobes below the middle and two short parallel ridges on the face, its terminal lobe rounded and deflexed, 3-4 mm wide.


Flowers June to July (var. occidentalis) or August to September (var. maculata)

Wetland indicator: FACU

Two varieties occur in the east. Variety occidentalis (Lindl.) Cockerell blooms earlier and has floral bracts that are often more than 1 mm long and bifid or trifid at the apex and the middle lobe of the lip expanded. Variety maculata blooms a few weeks later and has floral bracts that rarely reach 1 mm long and usually entire, and the middle lobe of the lip scarcely expanded distally. The plants shown in these pictures are var. occidentalis which may be the more common of the two in NY. Occasional yellow forms occur and can be distinguished from C. trifida by their larger size and later blooming period.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY




Michael Hough 2018