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Coralroot orchid
Corallorhiza trifida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Maxillarieae
Subtribe: Corallorhizinae
Genus: Corallorhiza

Corallorrhiza Gagnebin, orth. var.

Corallorhiza, the coralroot orchids, is a genus of flowers in the orchid family. Except for the circumboreal C. trifida, the genus is restricted to the New World.[1][2][3]

Most species are leafless, relying entirely upon symbiotic fungi within their coral-shaped roots for sustenance. Because of this dependence on myco-heterotrophy within their mycorrhizae, they cannot be successfully cultivated. Most species do not produce chlorophyll, and do not depend on photosynthesis for energy. An exception is the yellowish green species Corallorhiza trifida, which has some chlorophyll and is only partially dependent on its fungal associates for nutrition.[4]

List of species[edit]

Many species names have been proposed that are now considered synonyms of other species, or members of other genera. Species accepted as members of Corallorhiza by the Plant List:[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Flora of North America, Corallorhiza, v 26 p 633
  2. ^ Freudenstein, J. V. 1997. A monograph of Corallorhiza (Orchidaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 1(10): 5–51.
  3. ^ Gagnebin, Abraham. 1755. Acta Helvetica, Physico-Mathematico-Anatomico-Botanico-Medica 2: 61.
  4. ^ Zimmer, K., et al. (2008). The ectomycorrhizal specialist orchid Corallorhiza trifida is a partial myco-heterotroph. New Phytologist 178:2 395-400.
  5. ^ The Plant List