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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Corallorhiza maculata (Summer coralroot)
Glase, Terry

Corallorhiza maculata

Corallorhiza maculata (Raf.) Raf.

Summer Coralroot, Spotted Coralroot, Speckled Coral Root, Large Coral Root, Many-flowered Coral Root

Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)

Synonym(s): Corallorrhiza maculata

USDA Symbol: COMA25

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

Most orchids (this one included) of genus Corallorhiza have no chlorophyll and are mycoheterotrophic; that is, they utilize fungi to obtain carbon from the roots of other plants. Corallorhiza maculata utilizes ectomycorrhizal fungi in the genus Russula to obtain carbon from the roots of nearby trees.

This species has 10-30 purplish-brown to yellowish bilaterally symmetrical flowers in loose racemes along a yellowish or brownish, leafless floral stalk that has several sheaths toward the base. The specific epithet, maculata, means "spotted" and is given for the purple spots on the lip of the flower.

This northern orchid is the most common and largest Coralroot. Several smaller species differ in color and in the nature of the lip. Five species occur in the East, among them: Wister's Coralroot (C. Wisteriana), which flowers from March to May, before any of the others and Late or Autumn Coralroot (C. odontorhiza), with flowers less than 1/5" (5 mm) long, the last to flower, appearing from late August to October.


From the Image Gallery

20 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red , Yellow , Green , Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AZ , CA , CO , CT , DE , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MT , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Alberta east to Newfoundland, south to Georgia, and north and west to Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and North Dakota; Texas; also throughout West.
Native Habitat: Usually moist, but occasionally dry, upland, shady forests.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Conditions Comments: It lacks chlorophyll and gets its nourishment from fungi in its coral-like underground stem. (Niering)


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

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...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Corallorhiza maculata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Corallorhiza maculata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Corallorhiza maculata


Record Modified: 2023-04-24
Research By: TWC Staff

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