Native Region: Throughout much of North America
Preferred Climate: Semi shade; mixed conifer/deciduous forest; humus rich soil.
Harvest Date: Monday 10 September, 2012
Seed count: 250-300
A saprophytic orchid species native to our mountain forests. In April to June, a single stalk emerges from the forest floor bearing dainty purple/pink/brown flowers with a white lip that is randomly marked with tiny purple spots. By autumn, the stalk turns black, and under our typical summer drought the seed capsules open to allow the pollen like yellow seed to disperse on the slightest breeze. A medicinal once used by the First Nations.
Classified as a fungus flower because its extreme symbiotic relationship with the forest mychorrizae fungus. Because of this, this orchid doesn't possess roots but lumpy nodes where it and the mychorrizae become one. Any removal of this orchid from its established 'bed' is lethal, so please don't collect from the wild. I've only found a few so one call consider it rare despite its wide distribution.
Corallorhiza needs mychorizae fungus from conifer forests in order to germinate. Coral root doesn't have a root system but is symbiotic with the forest mychorizae & needs the mychorizae in order to germinate. I have no personal experience to offer. An easy & very interesting orchid germination technique using cardboard can be found at: http://www.agc-bc.ca/bulletin/AGCofBC-winter2006.pdf