Corallorhiza mertensiana seeds (Pacific Coralroot Orchid)


Literature says this is perhaps the most common orchid in the PNW with a range from California to Alaska. This is the first year I’ve bumped into it. Turning left instead of right, my eye caught a flash of pink. I followed the a sparse line of plants to a small gorge. Looking over the edge, there was the main herd.  No problem acquiring seed this year.

4 in stock


Native to the shady conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest. It is known as Western coralroot and Mertens’ coralroot. Once considered a subspecies of C. maculata but was given species rank in 1997. Like all Corallorrhiza orchids it is a leafless, parasitic, perennial 15-30cm tall with notable red stems. The upper petals are pink to reddish pink, with yellow to dark red veins. The lower petals are wider, dark pink to red, and have three deep red veins. Beneath the lower petal the spur is prominent. The flower spikes are visible from May to August. Corallorrhizae has no roots, only hard, branched rhizomes that resemble coral. Its fungal associations are unique to different Russulaceae than C. maculata. Being a nonphotosynthetic, myco-heterotroph, it receives its nutrition from ectomycorrhizal fungi. The fungi receive mineral nutrients and carbon symbiotically from trees in turn this orchid parasitizes the carbon from the fungi.

  • Seed Count: + 100
  • Collection Date: August 2022
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Height and Width: 45cm x 10cm
  • Germination test type: n/a
  • Family: Orchidaceae

How to germinate Corallorhizae orchids:

Seeds are like dust as the embryo has no cotyledons and must rely on symbiotoic Russulaceae mychorrhizae for nutrition.  I am seeking information from an orchid specialist on how to.  Stay tuned.


Additional information

Weight 2 g