A nearly leafless plant with several or many erect, reddish-purple stems bearing several or many reddish-striped, pale pinkish, bilaterally symmetrical flowers in a raceme.
Corallorhiza means coral root, though the root is actually a hard mass of rhizomes associated with a fungus that aids in absorbing nutrients from the humus on the forest floor. (Coral roots lack chlorophyll and thus get nourishment from organic material in the soil.) After producing flower stalks, the rhizomes may remain dormant for several years. The most attractive of several coral roots, this orchid can withstand cold but not heat and thus cannot be successfully cultivated south of its natural range.
Weird-looking rootless plant, perhaps a fungus
August 23, 2008
While out it my backyard (i.e. the Black Hills of South Dakota), I spotted a weird-looking rootless plant (I think it may be a fungus) growing beneath the Ponderosa Pines. It was the only one in the a...
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