Coralroot (Coralroot orchid)

Scientific Name: Corallorhiza

Seen on Hike to Romana Falls 8/20/13

Coralroot orchids are a genus of flowers in the orchid family.

They are eafless, relying entirely upon symbiotic fungi for sustenance.

Despite its name, this orchid doesn't have true roots.
It has a lumpy mass at the base of its stem that has a very coral-like appearance, hence the name.

It gets energy and nutrients via fungi that live in the lumpy mass at its base

Five Corallorhiza species grow in the west; however the Pacific Coralroot (Corallorhiza mertensiana) is the only exclusively native western species.

Coralroots spend most of their time underground. They only emerge for blooming.

The autumn coralroot often develops a pod and sets viable seeds without even opening its flowers for pollination.

The latest evidence shows that these fungi are not necessarily saprobic (where they gather nutrients from the surrounding organic matter and giving it to the orchids), but are mycorrhizal. The orchids are in fact parasites of these fungi which are symbiotic with trees. In other words, ectomycorrhizal fungi are symbiotic with trees where they obtain mineral nutrients for carbons fixed through photosynthesis. The orchids behave like a parasite that steals the carbon from the fungus. This fascinating symbiosis is complex and is one of the hottest topics of mycorrhizal research. (from and in Evernorte

From Memalose Lake 6/5/14 H321

We saw some Coralroot (Corallorhiza)

From Hike to Tamanawas Falls 6/26/14 H327


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From Memalose Lake 6/5/14 H321