Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Three Coralroots on Whidbey Island

I was out on Monday, May 16th, to do some wildflower and orchid photography on Whidbey Island.  I went first to Fort Casey State Park to photograph the Golden Paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) there.  This beautiful Paintbrush is found in only eight locations in Washington and though originally native to Oregon and British Columbia has been extirpated in both areas, though some efforts are being make to reintroduce it.

Finished at Fort Casey State Park, I visited several other locations and found the Spotted Coralroot near the end of its bloom season at one location.  The Spotted Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata var. maculata) is found across the USA and Canada and differs from the Western Spotted Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis) in its broader range, generally smaller and more cupped flowers and later blooming period.

Corallorhiza maculata var. maculata

Corallorhiza maculata var. maculata fma. rubra
(red-stemmed form)

At the same location I found the Ozette Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata var. ozettensis) just starting to bloom.  This unusual and unspotted variety of the Spotted Coralroot was originally found on the Olympic Peninsula but has been found since at different locations on Whidbey Island, in eastern Washington, in Oregon and in British Columbia and on Vancouver Island.  Wherever found it is quite uniform in color and shape.

Corallorhiza maculata var. ozettensis

Finished there I went on to a third location to see if the Western or Merten's Coralroot (Corallorhiza mertensiana) was blooming.  It was blooming and seemed to be everywhere this year and in every possible color combination (notice the different color stems and flowers and the different patterning in the photos).  Though the other Coralroots have been spare this year this species was blooming by the thousands in a very small area.

Corallorhiza mertensiana

Corallorhiza mertensiana fma. pallida


  1. This year is a 'bumper' crop of coral roots on the Hoypus trail. I just have my 8 meg cell phone pics..They are a bit past their prime but very is an interesting growth of a possible fungus on red huckleberries. Someone from Canada also reported this too on a social media page.

    1. Yes the Coralroots at Hoypus are amazing - I've never seen so many. Was there last week and saw the fungus as well, if we're thinking of the same thing. What we saw was orange and we saw it also on wild rose seedlings - saw it in eastern Washington as well.