Corallorhiza mertensiana Bong.
western coralroot (Pacific coralroot)
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Kent Brothers     (Photo ID #10186)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Corallorhiza mertensiana
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial, saprophytic herb from coral-like rhizomes; stems (15) 20-55 cm tall, reddish, smooth.
Bractlike, sheathing, 2 or 3.
Inflorescence a terminal raceme of 3 to 25 short-stalked, erect to spreading flowers, the bracts scalelike; sepals usually pink, narrowly oblanceolate, 7-10 mm long, the lower spreading; lateral petals deep pink to red, veins usually yellow or dark red; lip 6-9 mm long, deep pink to red, usually with 3 dark red veins, base with 2 lateral short teeth, tip irregularly fine-toothed; spur 0.5-2.5 mm long; column 5.5-8 mm long, curved over lip.
Capsules, egg-shaped, drooping, 15-25 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Corallorhiza mertensiana

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
726 1 1420
Slope Gradient (%)
30 0 70

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

192 35 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 1 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

CDF(1), CWH(29), ESSF(1), ICH(17), IDF(3), MH(7), MS(1)

Habitat and Range

Moist to dry forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent throughout BC, especially along the coast, south of 55 degrees N, rare northward; N to SE AK and S to WY, ID and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Corallorhiza maculata subsp. mertensiana (Bong.) Calder & Roy L. Taylor
Corallorrhiza maculata subsp. mertensiana (Bong.) Calder & Taylor [orthographic variant]
Corallorrhiza mertensiana Bong. [orthographic variant]