Montana Outdoors

June 19, 2012

In a cedar forest (2)

Filed under: Spring Creek, Wildflowers — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:29 pm

Spotted Coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata, Orchid family

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot

About a mile from the trail head at Spring Creek, these little orchids are just beginning to bloom. They are widespread and common at low to mid elevations in moist and wet climates in most of the U.S. and Canada, although I suspect they are often overlooked. They are listed as “of special concern”, “threatened” or “endangered” in 7 states.

Their genus Corallorhiza (the Coralroots) are saprophytic, deriving their nutriments from decaying organic material and do not have the chlorophyll used by most plants for food production. As with most saprophytes, they cannot be cultivated and because of their dependency on decaying matter, they may be abundant in one part of the forest one year and completely absent the next.

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