Monday, May 23, 2011
Corallorhiza striata in the Chuckanuts
There is a detailed description of this leafless, saprophytic species already on this blog and the photos there came from the same location as the photos here, but I'm posting this with emphasis on habitat and location: http://nativeorchidsofthepacificnorthwest.blogspot.com/2010/08/striped-coralroot-corallorhiza-striata.html.
As the Coralroots go this is one of the smaller species, but also one of the largest flowered species. The plant is only about a foot tall in this location but the flowers are three quarters of an inch in size and very beautifully colored. This is definitely a species worth looking for and one that will be remembered when found.
There are a number of these growing on the edge of the Interurban Trail in the Chuckanuts, south of Bellingham. The trail is heavily used by bikers, walkers and runners, but the plants are far enough off the path itself that they generally escape damage, though I noticed when I was first there that one spike was broken off.
I counted about a dozen single spikes scattered along the trail, most of them half hidden in the surrounding growth and one larger clump of six spikes in a more open and slightly wetter area. There were more spikes last year, but Coralroots are notorious for their unpredictability and I may also have missed some.
These were found and the location passed on to me by my good friend, Marti Anderson whose blog is well worth following: http://meanderingwa.blogspot.com/2010/05/larrabee-state-park.html. I've been to see them twice this spring, but found only just beginning to open the first time.