Family: Orchidaceae (orchid family)
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.
DO NOT PICK ORCHIDS!
SOURCES & FURTHER RESOURCES:
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".