Corallorhiza striata (Striped Coralroot)
|Also known as:
|part shade, shade; woods
|May - June
|7 to 18 inches
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|GP: UPL MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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Erect spike-like raceme of 7 to 26 flowers, each about ½ inch across with a short ovary and flower stalk. The 3 sepals and 2 lateral petals are similar in size and shape, oval narrowing to pointed tips, creamy white with purple to red stripes, fanning at the top of the flower. The lower lip similar size but little broader, unlobed, the striping merged to create nearly solid reddish purple. The central flower column is yellow.
Leaves and stem:
Fruit is dangling capsule up to 1 inch long.
The coralroots go from unspectacular to vibrant as Striped Coralroot demonstrates. Sporadic from year to year, MN DNR botanist Welby Smith recommends the woodland trails in Itasca State Park for reliable appearances. There are 2 recognized varieties in North America: var. vreelandii has populations primarily in the western and southwestern US, and var. striata which is present primarily in the northern and northwestern US, including Minnesota, and into Canada.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken on state forest land in northern Aitkin County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?