Corallorhiza striata Lindley

Striped coral-root

The specific epithet striata is the Latin meaning "striped," and refers to the sepals and petals of this species, which are conspicuously striped with purple.

DESCRIPTION: Plant glabrous, 10-45 cm tall, arising from a branched, coralloid rhizome. Leaves reduced to several bladeless bracts sheathing the stem. Inflorescence a dense to lax terminal raceme, 10-25 flowered; each flower subtended by a small, ovate-lanceolate bract. Sepals oblanceolate to elliptical, 7-17 mm long and 2-5 mm wide, yellowish, with 3-5 madder-purple nerves. Petals similar to sepals, but slightly smaller. Labellum obovate to elliptical, entire, concave; 6-13 mm long and 4-8 mm wide, the base of the central portion with a fleshy ridge, dark madder-purple occasionally with some whitish-yellow near the base.

It is unlikely that Corallorhiza striata could be confused with any other Wisconsin orchid. While its general appearance clearly marks it as a Corallorhiza, its large size, deep red labellum, and striated petals and sepals distinguish it from the other three species of Corallorhiza found in Wisconsin.

Corallorhiza striata is found almost exclusively in dry Thuja woods in eastern Wisconsin. These Thuja woods are typically found over limestone or dolomite. In other parts of Wisconsin, C. striata is also uncommonly found in mixed deciduous forest. C. striata is perhaps most common along the shore of Lake Michigan in Door County, and is uncommon to rare inland.

May 25-July 5.

Unknown. An interesting characteristic of Corallorhiza striata is the loose attachment of the labellum. A gentle breeze or a tap to the inflorescence will cause the labella to visibly shake. Perhaps this has some relation to the pollination in C. striata, although this is pure speculation.

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