This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek for coral-root). Orchidd-cex. Coral-Root. Low orchids, growing in woods and parasitic on roots, destitute of green foliage, the plant usually brownish or yellowish and inconspicuous.
Flowers small, somewhat 2-lipped, usually obscurely spurred at the base; sepals and petals nearly alike; lip small, slightly adherent to the base of the column; pollinia 4. - Species few, in N. Amer., Eu. and Asia. The coral-roots have little merit as garden plants, although very interesting to the student. They may be grown in rich, shady borders. Two species have been offered by dealers in native plants. C. multiflora, Nutt. (Fig. 1050), is purplish, 1 1/2 ft. or less high, 10-30-flowered, lip deeply 3-lobed: grows in dry woods in northern states; C. Mertensiana, Bong., scape many-flowered, 8-15 in. high, the lip entire and broadly oblong: occurs in Brit. Col. and north to Alaska. C. odontorhiza, Nutt., provides what is known as crawley-root, said to be used for its diaphoretic and febrifuge properties: it is a slender plant, in woods S., but extending north as far as Canada, light brown or purplish, 6-7 in. tall: lip nearly or quite entire, white spotted with crimson.
Fig. 1050. Corallorhiza multiflora. (X 1/3)
L. h. b.