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Published In: Acta Helvetica, Physico-Mathematico-Anatomico-Botanico-Medica 2: 61. 1755. (Feb 1755) (Acta Helv. Phys.-Math.) Name publication detailView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/23/2009)


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4. Corallorhiza Gagnebin (coral root)

(Freudenstein, 1997)

Plants saprophytic, with greatly reduced amounts of chlorophyll in Missouri species, glabrous, with highly branched, coral‑like rhizomes encircled at regular intervals by scars of successive sheathing bracts. Flowering stems yellowish tan to purple with flowers in a raceme toward the tip. Leaves absent, the flowering stems with few, small sheathing bracts. Sepals and lateral petals similar, linear‑lanceolate to narrowly oblong, the lateral sepals and petals curved upward and inward and partially overlapping the upper sepal (in Missouri taxa). Lip ovate to obovate, with the margins somewhat wavy. Stamen 1, staminodes lacking. Capsules pendant, ovoid to nearly globose, strongly ribbed. Ten species, North America, Central America, Caribbean Islands, Europe, Asia.

Although Corallorhiza is generally thought of as a genus of obligate saprophytes devoid of chlorophyll, Freudenstein (1992) has reviewed the evidence for photosynthesis in C. trifida Châtel. and also has presented data suggesting that chlorophyll occurs in several other species, including the taxa found in Missouri.


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1 Sepals and lateral petals 3–4 mm long; flowers often cleistogamous 1 Corallorhiza odontorhiza
+ Sepals and lateral petals 6–8 mm long; flowers not cleistogamous 2 Corallorhiza wisteriana
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