Cephalanthera austiniae (A. Gray) A. Heller
Phantom Orchid, Snow Orchid
Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)
Synonym(s): Eburophyton austiniae
USDA Symbol: CEAU
Cephalanthera austiniae is achlorophyllous and is mycoheterotrophic; that is, it utilizes Thelephora-Tomentella group ectomycorrhizal fungi to parasitize the roots of other plants.
A waxy, white, nearly leafless plant with stems in clusters and racemes of 5-20 bilaterally symmetrical, white flowers.
This aptly named plant appears ghostly in the dim light of the forest floor. Since it is not green and is therefore incapable of photosynthesis, it is dependent on a symbiotic relationship with soil-borne fungi for the acquisition of carbon.
This species was once considered the sole member of the genus Eburophyton; it is now recognized as belonging to Cephalanthera, a genus of about 12 species throughout the Northern Hemisphere. This species is the sole North American member of its genus, the rest being Old World species.
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: CA , ID , OR , WA
Native Distribution: Northern Washington south to northern California mountains and southern Sierra Nevada, and east to Idaho.
Native Habitat: Dense, moist, usually coniferous woods
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Humus Enriched
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Cephalanthera austiniae in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cephalanthera austiniae in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cephalanthera austiniae
MetadataRecord Modified: 2016-03-04
Research By: TWC Staff