Corallorhiza trifida   Coralroot Orchid RR DD N

Corallorhiza trifida whole Corallorhiza trifida close

Corallorhiza trifida had been seen just coming into flower a few days before this photo was taken and so, with a GPS and a ten figure grid reference we should have walked straight to it. We did walk to it actually but it is so difficult to see in its habitat that it took ten minutes or so before any were spotted.

It used to be described as saprophytic but it is now believed that plants are never truly saprophytic. More precisely it is mycoheterotrophic which means it parasitizes the the microrhizal fungi which surround the root system of this plant (and many other orchids too). It can produce a limited amount of chlorophyll so some plants appear greenish. This one and other plants around it had no green coloration at all but it could well appear when setting seed.

The root shape is said to resemble coral which gives the plant its name. It has a strictly Northern distribution and Yorkshire is its most southerly outpost. It does not occur in Ireland.

Ardersier Near Inverness Airport, 9th June 2006

Added on 15th June 2006, updated 6th December 2008, updated 20th March 2010, updated Se3 4th May 2010

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