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Corallorhiza trifida (Yellow coralroot)
McAdoo, David R.

Corallorhiza trifida

Corallorhiza trifida Chatelain

Yellow Coralroot, Early Coralroot

Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)

Synonym(s): Corallorhiza corallorhiza, Corallorhiza trifida var. verna, Corallorrhiza corallorrhiza, Corallorrhiza trifida, Corallorrhiza trifida var. verna

USDA Symbol: cotr18

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

Most orchid species of genus Corallorhiza have no chlorophyll and are mycoheterotrophic; that is, they utilize Thelephora-Tomentella group ectomycorrhizal fungi to obtain nutrients from the roots of autotrophs. This species is hemi-mycoheterotrophic. That is, it is chlorophyllous and makes some of its food through photosynthesis, though most nutrition is derived through its interaction with soil-borne ectomycorrhizal fungi, which in turn is a mycorrhizal symbiont of the autotrophs, Salix repens and Betula pendula and perhaps others.

Several or many erect, pale yellowish or greenish, nearly leafless stems in a clump, each stem with a raceme of small, bilaterally symmetrical flowers the same color as stem except for white lower lip.

Of all the coral roots, this small pale species is perhaps the least showy. It is also found in Eurasia.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple

Bloom Information

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


USA: AK , CA , CO , CT , ID , IL , IN , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MT , ND , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SD , UT , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Alaska south and east to Labrador, and south in West to Washington, northeastern Oregon, northern Sierra Nevada, central Utah, and Colorado; also in northern portion of eastern United States.
Native Habitat: Moist woods from moderate to high elevations.

Growing Conditions

Soil Moisture: Moist
Conditions Comments: Tends to form large clumps and extensive colonies. It is a species that occurs around the world in the Boreal and Mixed Forest Regions and adjacent regions of the Deciduous Forests and Tundra. (Andy Fyon)

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.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2016-03-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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