Corallorhiza bentleyi - Bentley’s coralroot

Bentley’s coralroot orchid is an herbaceous, perennial wildflower with a limited distribution near the West Virginia and Virginia border. First discovered in July 1998, Bentley’s coralroot is known from only several populations. Bentley’s coralroot occurs above ground as a single flowering scape.

Corallorhiza wisteriana roots with fungus.
Corallorhiza bentleyi. Photo by Larry Lynch.

USDA NRCS PLANTS Database range map for the species.
Corallorhiza bentleyi range map. USDA PLANTS Database.

Corallorhiza bentleyi (Corallorhiza - corallion - coral and rhiza - root; coralroot; and bentleyi - for the discover Stanley Bentley) refers to the underground stems, rhizomes, appearing like an ocean coral.

Corallorhiza bentleyi
Corallorhiza bentleyi. Photo by David McAdoo.

Corallorhiza bentleyi
Corallorhiza bentleyi. Photo by David McAdoo.

Corallorhiza bentleyi
Corallorhiza bentleyi. Photo by Jim Fowler.

Corallorhiza bentleyi attains a height of 20 centimeters or less. The dark, reddish leaves are reduced to sheaths surrounding a simple scape (stalk of an inflorescence). The flower stalk is reddish to yellowish brown as the flower stalk increases in height. The inflorescence is a lax to dense raceme of few to 20 converging but not actually closed flowers. Individual flowers are similarly colored as the flowering stalk; occasionally the corolla is yellow, lacking the three reddish purple veins. Perianth segments are three veined with the labellum displaying three moderately prominent, dark reddish-purple veins that serve as pollinator guides. The fruit is a reflexed capsule.

Corallorhiza bentleyi flowers in midsummer.

Corallorhiza maculata…