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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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



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. maculata (Raf.) Raf.


Plant 17–55 cm
Stem red to yellow-brown
Flower: sepals 5.5–10 mm, lower spreading, generally colored like stems; lateral petals generally deep pink to red, sometimes dark-spotted; lip 5–7 mm, white, clearly red- to purple-spotted, base with 2 lateral lobes, tip finely crenate or toothed; spur < 2.5 mm; column 3–5 mm, yellowish, purple-spotted
Fruit 15–20 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=42
Ecology: Shaded coniferous forest, in decomposing leaf litter
Elevation: < 2800 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada (except Tehachapi Mountain Area), sw San Francisco Bay Area, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, Peninsular Ranges, White and Inyo Mountains
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, eastern US, New Mexico
Flowering time: Jun–Aug

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