Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Corallorhiza mertensiana
Pacific coralroot, western coralroot

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska south California, east to Alberta, Montana, and Wyoming.

Habitat: Usually in moist coniferous forests, low to mid-elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: May-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Myco-heterotrophic, scapose, perennial herbs, the stem 1.5-4.5 dm. tall, purplish- to reddish-brown.


No true, green leaves; scape with several sheathing bracts.


Flowers up to 30 on short pedicles in a raceme; sepals 3, pink, the 3 veins sometimes yellow, 8-10 mm. long, narrowly oblong to narrowly oblong-oblanceolate, 1.2-1.5 mm. broad; 2 small petals about equal to the sepals but slightly broader; third petal (lip) pendent, ovate-oblong, with a small tooth on each side, 7-9 mm. long and 4.5-6 mm. wide including the teeth, deep pink to red, unspotted; stamens and style fused to form a slender, curved column 6-7 mm. long.


Capsule pendant, ovoid, 1.5-2.5 cm long.

Accepted Name:
Corallorhiza mertensiana Bong.
Publication: Mém. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Pétersbourg, Sér. 6, Sci. Math. 2: 165. 1832.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Corallorhiza maculata (Raf.) Raf. ssp. mertensiana (Bong.) Calder & Roy L. Taylor
Corallorhiza purpurea L.O. Williams
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Corallorhiza mertensiana in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Corallorhiza mertensiana checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Corallorhiza mertensiana information.

E-Flora BC: Corallorhiza mertensiana atlas page.

CalPhotos: Corallorhiza mertensiana photos.

USDA Plants: Corallorhiza mertensiana information.

71 photographs:
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