Native Plant of the Week: Autumn Coralroot ~ Corallorhiza odontorhiza

Autumn (Fall) Coralroot ~ Corallorhiza odontorhiza

Fall Coralroot is a tiny native woodland orchid. I have only seen it twice in my area and recently discovered the second location at a local park.

Flowering in late summer (August - September)  the burgundy-brown color blends in perfectly with the woodland leaf litter making this orchid especially hard to spot.

The flowers rarely open on this orchid, they are tiny and white with small spots. To see a photo of the flower and a summary of other Coralroot, check out this post at the Get Your Botany On blog.

I have found Fall Coralroot growing locally in medium to dry, mature, maple-basswood and oak woodlands in part to full shade. Both locations were on slopes. It can grow to around 12 inches in height, but the clusters I've seen are much shorter.

Here's a recent photo of Fall Coralroot. It's much easier to spot with a little snow on the ground.

Fall Coralroot is native to eastern North America. See map below for range.
Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP).
North American Plant Atlas. Chapel Hill, N.C.