Observation 191408: Corallorhiza trifida

When: 2012-06-15

Collection location: Pokljuka flats, Gorenjska, East Julian Alps, Slovenia [Click for map]

46.3411° 13.9857° 1200m

Who: amadej trnkoczy (amadej)

No specimen available

Code: Bot_630/2012_DSC4079

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.

Place: Pokljuka flats, south of Mrzli studenc place, East Julian Alps, Gorenjska, Slovenia EC.

Comment: Corallorhiza trifida is another minute, inconspicuous myco-heterotrophic orchid growing in Slovenia. It is not often encountered.

For decades, from late 19th century on, Corallorhiza trifida had been considered an obligate myco-heterotrophic plant. Yet, although it 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. It 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.

Nikon D700 /Nikkor Micro 105mm/f2.8 and Canon G11, 6.1-30mm/f2.8-4.5

Proposed Names

85% (1)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight: Small, yellow-green orchid without leaves.
Used references: (1) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/...
(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.

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


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Created: 2014-12-03 02:02:20 CST (-0500)
Last modified: 2014-12-03 02:05:23 CST (-0500)
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