Thursday, May 29, 2014

Corallorhiza maculata var. maculata

The Spotted Coralroot has three varieties in our area, both often found growing in the same area, one of which is so different that it does not even look like this species.  That variety is Corallorhiza maculata var. ozettensis, the Ozette Coralroot.  The ordinary variety, Corallorhiza maculata var. maculata, is the subject of this post.  The other variety, the Western Spotted Coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis, was featured in an earlier post.  The flowers are slightly different in the two varieties, those of the Western Spotted Coralroot tending to be larger, more open and more brownish in color.  That variety also has flowers with a rounded lip, while the Spotted Coralroot, featured in this post, has a lip with more or less straight sides.  On the basis of that feature alone it is somewhat difficult to distinguish the two varieties since lip shape varies considerably even among the flowers on the same plant.  The main distinguishing feature, therefore, is bloom time.  Where the two varieties grow in the same location the Western Spotted Coralroot blooms several weeks before the other variety, this variety, the ordinary Spotted Coralroot, blooming just as the Western is finishing.  When I photographed the first group of Spotted Coralroots this spring in several different locations, the Western Spotted Coralroots had only a few good flowers left and most had started producing seedpods.  A comparison of the two posts will show these differences.

May 24

June 23

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