Family:     Orchidaceae (orchid family)

Duration:  Perennial

Height:     10 - 40 cm (4 - 16 in)

Blooming: Aug. - Oct.


Autumn Coral Root

Corallorhiza odontorhiza Nutt.

Stem: erect. Yellow, green, or purplish brown.  The lower part of the stem is bulbous and thickened.  Hairless and leafless. 


Flowers: closed or open depending on the variety (see comments).  Autumn coral root can have 5-26 small flowers not reaching more than 3-5 mm (0.11-0.2 in) long.

Leaves: 1-4 leaves alternating widely up the stem. Leaves have no hair or teeth.  

Fruit: several hanging rounded capsules with remnant flowering at the tip. 



Bonap map - Corallorhiza odontorhiza

Consortium of Midwest Herbaria - Corallorhiza odontorhiza

Illinois wildflowers - Autumn Coral Root

Michigan Flora - Corallorhiza odontorhiza

Argue, C.L., 2011. The Pollination Biology of North American Orchids: Volume 2: North of Florida and Mexico. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 202.

Comments: there are two varieties of Autumn coralroot in Northwest Indiana: the more common, self-fertilized, closed flowered (cleistogamous) - var. odontorhiza and the opened, fancy little -var. pringlei.  Both varieties can occur in the same population.  Technically, the cleistogamous variety's flower lacks a small flap that separated the pollen mass and stigma causing immediate self-fertilization; whereas, variety pringlei has the small flap making self-fertilization a little more difficult.

Etymology: The genus, Corallorhiza, is derived from the Greek word, korallion, meaning "coral" and rhiza, meaning "root".  Odontorhiza means "toothed root".

photo by Nathanael Pilla

photo by Adam Balzer

photo by Nathanael Pilla

Species Present and Native
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The mission of Save the Dunes is to preserve, protect and restore the Indiana dunes and all natural resources in Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan Watershed for an enhanced quality of life.

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