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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

ORCHIDACEAE

ORCHID FAMILY

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.

CORALLORHIZA

CORALROOT

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.

Native

C. striata Lindl.

STRIPED CORALROOT

Plant 15–50 cm
Stem generally red-brown to purplish (yellowish)
Flower: sepals 6–17 mm, generally yellowish pink to pale brown, with 3–5 longitudinal, reddish to purplish stripes, lower curved forward; lateral petals ± sepal-like; lip 8–15 mm, entire, pale yellow-brown to reddish; column 4–7 mm, purple-spotted
Fruit 12–25 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=42
Ecology: Open to shaded coniferous forest, in decomposing leaf litter
Elevation: 100–2200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California (except Inner North Coast Ranges), Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada (except Tehachapi Mountain Area), sw San Francisco Bay Area
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, e Canada, n Mexico
Plants from SN with sepals 6–10 mm have been called var. vreelandii (Rydb.) L.O. Williams.

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