Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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Dieter H. Wilken and William F. Jennings

Perennial, terrestrial in CA, some nongreen, generally from rhizomes
Leaves linear to ± round or scale-like, generally sessile
Inflorescence: generally raceme or spike, bracted
Flower bisexual, bilateral, sometimes spurred; sepals generally 3, generally petal-like, generally free, uppermost generally erect; petals 3, lowest different ("lip"); stamen generally 1, fused with style and stigma into column, pollen generally sticky, generally removed as sessile anther sacs; ovary inferior, generally twisted 180° (so lip appears to be lowest perianth segment), 1-chambered, placentas 3, parietal; stigmas 3, generally under column tip
Fruit: capsule
Seeds very many, minute
Genera in family: ± 800 genera, ± 18,000 species: especially tropical (worldwide except deserts). Many cultivated for ornamental, especially Cattelya, Cymbidium, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedalum; Vanilla planifolia fruits used as source of food flavoring
Reference: [Luer 1975 Orchids US and Can, NY Bot Garden; Coleman 1995 Wild Orchids of California, Cornell Univ.]
Nongreen plants derive nutrition through fungal intermediates.



Plants yellowish green to purplish; rhizome branches many, short, scaly, together coral-like
Stem ± scapose
Leaves bract-like, ± sheathing
Inflorescence: raceme; flower bract << flower, often scale-like
Flower: sepals ± alike, oblong to (ob)lanceolate, generally curved over column and lip, generally 3-veined, lower generally fused at base; lateral petals = or > lip, spreading or curved toward lip; lip simple to 3-lobed, spreading to reflexed, sometimes short-spurred; column generally convex above, concave below, curved over lip
Fruit pendent
Species in genus: ± 10 species: North America, C.Am
Etymology: (Greek: coral root)
Albino plants require careful comparison of sepals and lips for identification.


C. mertensiana Bong.


Plant 15–45 cm
Stem generally reddish
Flower: sepals 7–10 mm, generally pink, lower spreading; lateral petals deep pink to red, veins generally yellow or dark red; lip 6–9 mm, deep pink to red, generally with 3 dark red veins, base with 2 lateral, short teeth, tip irregularly crenate or toothed; spur 0.5–2.5 mm; column 5.5–8 mm
Fruit 15–25 mm
Ecology: Shaded to open mixed-evergreen or coniferous forest, in decomposing leaf litter
Elevation: < 2200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California (except Inner North Coast Ranges), High Cascade Range
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, Montana, Wyoming

Information on Distribution was contributed by Martin Lenz (22 Dec 2003):
The enclosed specimens... represent range extensions

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bioregional map for CORALLORHIZA%20mertensiana being generated
YOU CAN HELP US make sure that our distributional information is correct and current. If you know that a plant occurs in a wild, reproducing state in a Jepson bioregion NOT highlighted on the map, please contact us with that information. Please realize that we cannot incorporate range extensions without access to a voucher specimen, which should (ultimately) be deposited in an herbarium. You can send the pressed, dried collection (with complete locality information indicated) to us (e-mail us for details) or refer us to an accessioned herbarium specimen. Non-occurrence of a plant in an indicated area is difficult to document, but we will especially value your input on those types of possible errors (see automatic conversion of distribution data to maps).

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Corallorhiza mertensiana
Retrieve dichotomous key for Corallorhiza
Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
Show other taxa with the same California distribution | Read about bioregions | Get lists of plants in a bioregion
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