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Corallorhiza trifida; Coralroot Orchid   

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Corallorhiza trifida
Corallorhiza trifida
Coralroot Orchid
Photographer: Dr. Amadej Trnkoczy

ID: 0000 0000 1214 0253 (2014-12-02)

Copyright © 2014 Dr. Amadej Trnkoczy

  • date of photo  Jun 6, 2012
  • latitude 46.34723   longitude 13.98539     View on Google Maps.
  • location   Pokljuka flats, south of Mrzli studenc place, East Julian Alps (Gorenjska, Slovenia)
  • notes   Slo.: trikrpi koralasti koren - syn.: Corallorrhiza innata - Habitat: Old Picea abies forest, flat terrain, sparse and patchy cover of understory vegetation, probably superficially acid ground, quite humid place, in shade, partly protected from direct rain by tree canopies, average precipitations 2.000-2.600 mm/year, average temperature 3 - 5 deg C, elevation 1.200 m (3.950 feet), alpine phytogeographical region. - Substratum: forest soil. - Comment: Corallorhiza trifida is another minute, inconspicuous orchid growing in Slovenia with tiny flowers, which is not often encountered. Every encounter with it is an exciting experience for me. It has an interesting position within higher plants community in respect to obtaining its food.Corallorhiza trifida is the only species among a dozen of them in the genus Corallorhiza, which grows in Europe. All the rest can be found only in America. - About one hundred of all species within the family Orchidaceae are non-photosynthetic plants; that means they do not produce their own food and depend on nutrients supplies from associated fungi. Such are also all members of genus Corallorhiza. These plants have no leaves, have no chlorophyll and hence are not green. For decades, from late 19th century on, also Corallorhiza trifida had been considered an obligate myco-heterotrophic plant, which gets all demanded nutrients from association with fungi. Yet, although Corallorhiza trifida has no true green leaves, its stem is at least to some extent green. From this and other reasons several doubts in its myco-heterotrophic nature have been arisen from time to time, but without final proofs. Only in 2007 scientists (Ref.:1.) clearly demonstrated that it contains significant amounts of chlorophyll of type a and b (both are needed for efficient photosynthesis) and that it is photo synthetically active. By analysis of their carbon and nitrogen isotopes and by comparison of the results with other green and obligate myco-heterotrophic species they proved that the plant is able to supply significant proportion of its nutrients demands through the same processes as autotrophic green plants. This leafless orchid is therefore not a true obligate myco-heterotroph but only a partial myco-heterotroph. It probably represent a species 'on its evolutionary way' from autotrophic to heterotrophic existence, which makes it very special among presently known members of the kingdom of plants. - Protected according to 'Uredba o zavarovanih prostoživečih rastlinskih vrstah' Url. RS, št. 46/2004 (Regulation of protection of wild growing plants, Official Gazette of Republic Slovenia, No.:46/2004). Enlisted in the Slovene Red List of rare and endangered species, marked by 'V' representing a vulnerable species. - Ref.: (1) (2) A. Martinči et all., Mala Flora Slovenije, Tehnična Založba Slovenije (1999) (in Slovene), p 677. (3) D. Aeschimann, K. Lauber, D.M. Moser, J.P. Theurillat, Flora Alpina, Vol. 2., Haupt (2004), p 1144. (4) H. Baumann, S. Kuenkele, R. Lorenz, Orchideen Europas, Ulmer (2006), p 24. (5) O. Sebald, S. Seybold, G. Philippi, A. Wöerz, Die Farn- und Blütenpflanzen Baden-Württembergs, Ulmer, Band 8. (1998), p 421.
  • camera   Nikon D700 /Nikkor Micro 105mm/f2.8
  • photo category: Plant - annual/perennial

  • common names   Coralroot Orchid (photographer)
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  • The photographer's identification Corallorhiza trifida has not been reviewed. Click here to review or comment on the identification.

    Using this photo   The thumbnail photo (128x192 pixels) on this page may be freely used for personal or academic purposes without prior permission under the Fair Use provisions of US copyright law as long as the photo is clearly credited with © 2014 Dr. Amadej Trnkoczy. For other uses, or if you have questions, contact Dr. Amadej Trnkoczy amadej.trnkoczy[AT] (Replace the [AT] with the @ symbol before sending an email.)


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