Colorado boasts 33 native species of orchid and Spotted Coralroot Orchid (Corallorhiza maculata) is one of more common species. The coral-like rhizomes of this orchid feed off a fungus that is itself parasitic. The plant does not produce its own chlorophyll and therefore has a rusty brown coloring that makes the Spotted Coralroot Orchid sometimes difficult to find among the detritus of the forest floor. Only upon close inspection are the small, interesting flowers revealed.
Ouzel Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park
Flowers of the Spotted Coralroot Orchid have 3 petals – 2 side petals that are the same color as the rust-colored stem and a lip petal that is bright white with purplish spots.
The Coralroot was immortalized by Robert Frost in a poem called On Going Unnoticed.