Obligate saprophytes arising from a coral-like rhizome. Inflorescences erect, long-scapose racemes, the floral bracts inconspicuous. Flowers cupped. Sepals and petals free, spreading, subsimilar, subequal. Lip unlobed, with a pair of central keels. Column lightly arching, without wings or a foot; pollinia 4, naked. Pedicel narrow, clearly distinguishable from the ovary.


From the Greek korallion, meaning coral, and riza, meaning root, in reference to the brittle, coral-like subterranean parts.


A genus of 15 species in North America and Mesoamerica with one panboreal species.

Care and Culture Card

See basic growing conditions and care information below.


Coleman, R. A. 1988. The coral root orchids of California. Fremontia 16(3):21-23.

Coleman, R. A. 1991. A fourth coral root in California. Fremontia 19(1):22-23.

Freudenstein, J. V. 1987. A preliminary study of Corallorhiza maculata (Orchidaceae) in eastern North America. Contr. Univ. Michigan Herb. 16:145-154.

Freudenstein, J. V. 1996. (1269) Proposal to conserve the Corallorhiza Gagnebin (Orchidaceae) with a conserved spelling. Taxon 45:695-696.

Freudenstein, J. V. 1997. A monograph of Corallorhiza (Orchidaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 10:5-51.

Freudenstein, J. V. 1999. A new species of Corallorhiza (Orchidaceae) from West Virginia, U.S.A. Novon 9:511-513.

Freudenstein, J. V. and J. J. Doyle 1994. Plastid DNA, morphological variation, and the phylogenetic species concept -- the Corallorhiza maculata (Orchidaceae) complex. Syst. Bot. 19:273-290.

Magrath, L. K. and J. L. Norman 1989. Nomenclatural notes on Calopogon, Corallorhiza and Cypripedium (Orchidaceae) in the Great Plains region. Sida 13:371-372.

Malhotra, C. L. and B. Balodi 1984(1985). A new species of Corallorhiza Gagnebin from Gori Valley. Bull. Bot. Surv. India 26(1-2):108-109.

Salazar, G. A. and J. V. Freudenstein 1998. Identity and typification of Corallorhiza punctata and C. bulbosa (Orchidaceae). Taxon 47(1):51-54.

Zelmer, C. D. and R. S. Currah 1995. Evidence for a fungal liason between Corallorhiza trifida (Orchidaceae) and Pinus contorta (Pinaceae). Canad. J. Bot. 73:862-866.