Corallorhiza mertensiana
Western Coralroot

Location British Columbia
Specific Habitat

Moist to dry evergreen woods.

Flowering SeasonEarly June to early August.

Height to 50 cm; stem leafless, reddish to purplish.
Raceme loose with many flowers; petals in contact with dorsal sepal; lip purplish, margins toothed, often lobed near the base, curved sharply downward from near the base.


Special features: a reddish-purple striped lip and a long upward-extending column.
Some authorities consider this orchid to be only a variety of Corallorhiza maculata, but on the basis of plant structure studies it appears to be a separate species.
Along the shores of Buttle Lake on Vancouver Island, there are large colonies of both species, intermingling in a number of places. There are several clumps of what appear to be albinos; and a number of other, probably hybrid, plants.


Guide to Orchids of North America


© Royal Botanical Gardens, Dr. Donald Gunn Image Collection.