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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31 Comments »

  1. I’m learning! I thought, “Those look like little orchids” – and they are. I like the thought that they can’t be cultivated – how wonderful that there’s part of the world we can’t do anything with but admire.

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    Comment by shoreacres — June 19, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

    • I like that too, although I’m sure there are folks who try to transplant them without knowing and only succeed in killing the plant. I also rather like it that they may or may not be found in the same place year to year. It makes encountering them a pleasant surprise. These were rather small and I hope I will run into some that are much larger. They can get up to 16 inches tall.

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      Comment by montucky — June 19, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

  2. I love the detail in these flowers. An amazing find!

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    Comment by Jo Woolf — June 20, 2012 @ 5:08 am

  3. So beautiful, delicate and fleeting. I understand that “of special concern” has more to do with the destruction of habitat for species but somehow it just seems like such a fitting term for this little beauty. Great find. Thanks so much for sharing it.

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    Comment by anniespickns — June 20, 2012 @ 5:09 am

    • I have an idea that the decaying material that provides its food takes a long time to get to the right point, and it must be undisturbed through the process. This is found off the trails, never right on them.

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      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

  4. I’m a huge fan of saprophytes, they sort of round out the plant kingdom by utilizing energy that other plants don’t seek. Wonderful photographs!

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    Comment by Wild_Bill — June 20, 2012 @ 5:28 am

    • Their strategy must be pretty good, because there seems to be quite a few of them. I fear for them though as human traffic and exploitation of the forests increase. They will be vulnerable.

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      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

  5. Such a delicate beauty, yet you have to look hard to find it amid the dead things.

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    Comment by Homestead Ramblings — June 20, 2012 @ 5:52 am

    • Yes, it’s very unassuming and I imagine most of those who have not become familiar with it will miss it.

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      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

  6. I Love orchids and am so happy to see that such exquisite little beauties can be found in the wild. Love this set of photos.

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    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — June 20, 2012 @ 6:09 am

    • I am too, Teresa. I can still remember how happy I was to learn that we have so many orchid species in these forests.

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      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

  7. Wow! What a plant Spotted Coralroot is. A long stalk with tiny orchids. And such beautiful little orchids.

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    Comment by Anna Surface — June 20, 2012 @ 6:12 am

    • There is also Striped Coralroot and I hope to encounter them as the summer goes by.

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      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

  8. There are coralroot around here too, but not as interesting as this one.

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    Comment by bentehaarstad — June 20, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    • I think there is a lot of suitable habitat for them still available around here so we have a variety.

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      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

  9. how interesting!

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    Comment by skouba — June 20, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

    • I encounter things like these and learn something about them and in so doing realize just how little most of us really know about the natural world.

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      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

  10. Such little beauties. i love finding orchids, it is like wandering upon magic.

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    Comment by Tammie — June 20, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

    • I feel that way about them too. They are little treasures of the forest.

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      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

  11. Nice orchids. They look tiny, but their smallness doesn’t make them any less special.

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    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — June 21, 2012 @ 6:32 am

    • I know. There are so many wildflowers that are that way. Thank goodness for macro lenses!

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      Comment by montucky — June 21, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

  12. Interesting and very pretty little things.

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    Comment by Candace — June 21, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    • Until I really started photographing wildflowers I knew practically nothing about them. There is so muc to discover!

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      Comment by montucky — June 21, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

  13. Great finding. Orchids – incredible in my eyes.

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    Comment by Sartenada — June 25, 2012 @ 3:03 am

    • I think that finding an orchid is always a great find! They are awesome!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 25, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

  14. I’ve seen the striped ones around Missoula, but not the spotted ones. Good to see them on here.

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    Comment by Kim — June 25, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    • I have been used to seeing the striped ones too, but so far I haven’t seen one this year.

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      Comment by montucky — June 25, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

  15. Reblogged this on Tyler Quade Post and commented:

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    Comment by qvfgigglingcohan1979 — September 4, 2012 @ 3:51 am


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