Corallorhiza mertensiana Bong.

Mertens' Coral Root, Pacific Coral Root, Western Coral Root

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Corallorhiza maculata subsp. mertensiana, Corallorhiza purpurea, Corallorhiza vancouveriana, Neottia mertensiana

Corallorhiza mertensiana, the Western Coral Root, ranges from southeast Alaska through British Columbia to northern California, and east to Montana and Wyoming. This leafless orchid forms clumps in moist coniferous forests and mixed woods and produces a reddish, slender raceme with up to 40 flowers. The labellum of the showy flowers ranges in color from red-purple, white, or white with purple streaks or spots. This orchid can be distinguished from other coral roots by the serrate margin on the labellum and the prominent mentum protruding backward along the ovary.

Corallorhia mertensiana is considered globally secure and may be abundant throughout the Pacific northwest.


Pollinator information for this orchid has not been reported.

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties

C. mertensiana has two color variants that may be found in parts of its range.
Corallorhiza mertensiana forma albolabia, has sepals and petals that are pale yellow to white and the lip is pure white.
Corallorhiza mertensiana forma pallida has sepals and petals that are pale lavender and the lip is bright purple and white.

Ecosystem Type



Leaf arrangement:
this plant has no leaves
Number of leaves on stem:
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
  • crimson
  • white
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
4.8–9.5 mm
Sepal length:
6–12 mm
Plant height:
Up to 60 cm
Show All Characteristics

Native to North America


North American Conservation Status & Distribution

Conservation Status

Select a location to view conservation status:

Conservation and Wetland Status
Global Rank Apparently Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status Secure

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data