Native Orchid News:
The Newsletter of Native Orchid Conservation Inc. 
Volume 8 Issue 2   April 2006
ISSN 1499-5476

Western spotted coralroot - photo by Lorne Heshka Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
117 Morier Ave, Winnipeg MB R2M0C8

For more information contact Doris Ames at 204-947-9707 or e-mail

See our 2006 Fieldtrips page

Plant of the Month:
Spotted Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata)


President's Report - by Doris Ames

Spring is here at last.  Prairie crocus and Siberian elm trees are blooming and Manitoba maples have their first delicate flowers and lacy green leaves.  We have an exciting summer ahead of us. 

Our Annual General Meeting on February 24 was well attended and a new board was elected at that time.  Please see the list of new board members elsewhere in this newsletter. 

The Manitoba Orchid Society Orchid Show was a great success with many beautiful and unusual orchids on display.  NOCI won first prize in educational exhibits for our "Creation of the Ladyslipper" display.  Thanks to all the volunteers who worked hard to make our display a success and to all the members that came out to see our display at the show.  Lorne Heska also had an excellent educational display on Coral roots at the MOS orchid show and has contributed an interesting article based on his research for our newsletter this month. 

We were also delighted to hear that NOCI will be receiving the Premier's Volunteer Service Award in the Community category at the 23rd Annual Volunteer Awards Dinner, on April 26, 2006 in Winnipeg.  My sincere thanks to our nominator Ken Friesen, executive director of the C P Loewen Family Foundation, and to all the board members and volunteers whose hard work made it possible for us to receive this award. 

Native Orchid Conservation Inc in conjunction with the staff at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre will be holding an orchid festival at Oak Hammock on Saturday and Sunday June 3 and 4.  There will be orchid-related fun and activities for the whole family including slide shows, videos and displays about wetlands, native orchids and other rare plants as well as exotic orchid displays and sales.  Children will be delighted with the activities planned by the professional staff at Oak Hammock.  You will also have the opportunity to sign up for a special interpreted tour of the Brokenhead Wetlands which is home to 28 species of native orchids and many other beautiful and rare plant species.  The trip, to be held on Saturday, June 24, will include transportation from Winnipeg, a naturalist-guided hike through the wetlands, a day pass for the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre and a personalized souvenir of your visit.  Don't miss it!! 

We have another full season of fieldtrips to look forward to, starting Saturday, May 6, with trips to some different locations again this year.  Please see our 2006 Fieldtrips page. 

See you in the field! 

2006 AGM Report

By Peggy BainardAcheson

NOCI's eighth Annual General Meeting was attended by 35 members and five guests on Friday, February 24, 2005 at the Dakota Lawn Bowls Club. 

NOCI President Doris Ames gave the President's report of our many projects and activities in 2005, including the declaration of the Brokenhead Wetland Ecological Reserve and the publication of our book, Orchids of Manitoba.  Election proceedings were led by Nominations-chair, John Neufeld.  The election results included re-election of board members Doris Ames, Eugene Reimer and Richard Reeves and the election of Huguette Calvez to the board.  Welcome Huguette! 

Following the business meeting, our guest speaker was David Danyluk, coordinator of Save Our Seine, who presented a glimpse of a Winnipeg treasure through his slide presentation called "Mapography and Making a Map of it All: The Seine River Greenway Map Project 2005".  Referring to himself as a "mapographer", David is indeed very knowledgeable about the many charms of this old river that meanders through the southeast part of Winnipeg.  The recently produced map of the Seine is a visual treat of the natural and historical attractions of the river. 

Following David's presentation, the silent auction, raffle, and door prize draw were held and winners were: John Neufeld, Karen Burridge, Peter Klassen, Huguette Calvez, Kelly-Ann Richmond, Peggy BainardAcheson, Bep Vanderwoude, Birnie Reid, Yvonne Lozinski, Chris Neufeld, Peter Klassen, Mary Wiebe, Richard Reeves.

Congratulations to all the winners! 

Thanks to everyone who helped to make this another fun and successful evening! 

Your 2006 board of directors is as follows:

Doris Ames   President
John Neufeld   Vice-president
Huguette Calvez   Secretary
Iris Reimer   Treasurer and Fieldtrip-coordinator
Richard Reeves   Newsletter
Eugene Reimer   Webmaster
Peggy BainardAcheson   Membership

Plant of the Month

Spotted Coralroot   Corallorhiza maculata (Rafinesque) Rafinesque

By Lorne Heshka

C.maculata var occidentalis

C.maculata var maculata
Notice the difference in the labella (lips) in the two pictures above. 

C.maculata var occidentalis

C.maculata var maculata
Notice the difference in the floral bracts in the two pictures above. 

The range of C.maculata in Manitoba extends from the US border in the south, to a line drawn in an east-west orientation approximately 850 km to the north.  Habitats vary from deciduous forests and mixed coniferous/deciduous forests to predominantly coniferous forests - usually jackpine.  A reasonably dry substrate is the one element that is common through all habitats.  Provincial parks like Turtle Mountains, Duck Mountains and Birds Hill provide excellent habitat for this orchid. 

C.maculata, like other coralroot orchids, does not produce green leaves like most plants.  They are "mycoheterotrophic" receiving their nutrition from other plants by way of specific mycorrhizal fungi.  The plant lives underground as a rhizome, sending leafless flowering stems above ground during appropriate seasons. 

Although it was noted that there were distinct differences in blooming times between populations of this species, it wasn't until 1997, that Dr John Freudenstein completed a comprehensive study of this species.  In his published report, he described two distinct varieties of Corallorhiza maculata: variety occidentalis (western spotted coralroot) and variety maculata (spotted coralroot).  He noted that var maculata bloomed from one to four weeks later than var occidentalis

Morphologically these varieties can be separated by careful examination of the flowering stem with a magnifying glass or loupe.  The distinguishing features are found primarily in the floral bracts and the labellum (lip) of the flower. 

The floral bracts of var occidentalis are 1 to 4mm long, 1 to 2 mm wide and are usually forked.  The floral bracts of var maculata are 0.5 to 1 mm long, 0.5 to 0.9 mm wide and are usually entire.  The labellum of var occidentalis is strongly dilated with the ratio of widest width to base width greater than 1.5.  The labellum of var maculata may be slightly dilated or non-dilated having parallel sides with the ratio of widest width to base width less than 1.5. 

Both varieties of C.maculata are found in our province.  Variety occidentalis is considered common, while variety maculata is very rare.  The author has found only one location for variety maculata in Manitoba.  In contrast, more than 50 sites of variety occidentalis have been encountered.  Dr John Freudenstein, has referenced two specimens of variety maculata collected in Manitoba.  One location is in the Grand Rapids area in central Manitoba, the other at Riding Mountain National Park in western Manitoba.  A photograph of variety maculata, taken in Turtle Mountain Provincial Park by Ian Ward, appears in the book "Orchids of Manitoba - a field guide". 

The Manitoba herbarium specimens reported by Dr Freudenstein were collected in bloom in August which agrees with the general consensus held in eastern North America - that this species blooms later than var occidentalis.  However, specimens photographed by both the author and Ward (personal communication) were found blooming coincidentally with var occidentalis observed in the same area.  The blooming date of var occidentalis in Manitoba extends from mid-June to mid-July. 

Variety occidentalis throughout its range in Manitoba, has been observed in several colour forms.  These include: stem, petals and sepals flesh-coloured, the lip white, spotted with purple;  stem, petals and sepals red, the lip white, spotted with purple;  stem, petals and sepals yellow, the lip white, unspotted.  Intermediate colour forms have been observed as well. 

Variety maculata, based on the limited number of specimens observed in the province, have all had flesh-coloured petals and sepals, and a white lip spotted with purple.