The Spotted Coralroot Orchid

By Alivia Stokes

Plant information

The spotted coralroot or also commonly known as the summer coralroot. The scientific name is corallorhiza maculata from the orchidaceae family.

Habit: Perennial herb.

Leaves: There are no leaves, the lower stem is reduced to several overlapping sheaths.

Inflorescence: Raceme

Floral formula: X, 3 sepals, 3 petals (1 petal modified as the labellum), 1 stamen, 3 carpels; connate and an inferior ovary. The style, stigma, and stamens all fused to form the column.

Fruit: Hanging elliptic capsules.

Habitat: Grows best in shade and part shade, moist upland forests and occasionally found in wetlands.

Range: They are located mostly throughout Northern United States and Canada.

Interesting information

The spotted coralroot obtains its nutrients from its most common parasitic relationship is with fungal mycelium. The coralroot is unable to photosynthesize. Another interesting fact is how the spotted coralroot got its common name; It came from its coral like rhizome, which is swollen and branched. The spotted labellum is where "spotted" came from in the name.

Ethnobotanical Uses

The Native Americans would use coralroot for cold remedies, skin irritations, and even pneumonia, they also used them for a lot of "medicines". The Iroquois Native American people used coralroot for hunting medicine; they would put the coralroot in some water and wash their guns and clothes while hunting. They also created a love medicine which was the pounded roots! They used coralroots for many ethnobotanical uses in "medicine" and cerimonial uses.


(n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2016, from

Corallorhiza maculata var. maculata (Spotted Coralroot): Minnesota Wildflowers. (n.d.). Retrieved June 03, 2016, from

Plants Profile for Corallorhiza maculata (summer coralroot). (n.d.). Retrieved June 03, 2016, from

Hitchcock, C. L., & Cronquist, A. (1973). Flora of the Pacific Northwest; an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Our Green Neighbors: Native Orchid: Summer Coralroot. (2012, August 10). Retrieved June 03, 2016, from