South Dakota Native Plant Research
Orchidaceae: Corallorhiza striata

Orchidaceae: Corallorhiza striata


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Family Name


Common Name

Striped coralroot


Corallorhiza striata is a perennial saprophytic herb, lacking roots and growing from a much-branched rhizome, with erect stems 15-45 cm tall. The simple stems are succulent, yellow to red to purple to brown, wrapped with membranous bracts, 1-14 cm long. The inflorescence is a terminal raceme, 5-16 cm long with up to 35 flowers loosely arranged and subtended by bracts <4 mm long. The flowers are nodding, yellow tinged with red to purple stripes. There are 3 narrow sepals, sometimes striped, 5-18 mm long, and 2-5 mm wide and 3, often purplish striped, petals the 2 lateral ones are about the same length as the sepals. The lower petal forms a broad, fleshy, reflexed bilobed lip, 3-16 mm long and 3-8 mm wide. The fruit is an elliptic capsule 1.2-2 cm long. Striped coralroot blooms in May and June in cool, coniferous woodlands in decaying litter in western South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Striped coralroot is an interesting plant to observe in the wild. Growing it in a garden is a difficult task. The plant relies on a symbiotic fungus to survive. The seeds are tiny and require 1-2 years to germinate and more time to come to flower. I have not succeeded in growing them and only know of successful tests in locations that already have established plants.

Orchidaceae: Corallorhiza striata