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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Native orchid found in Monterey County

June 2011

A native wildflower, previously unrecorded as existing in Monterey County, was discovered in May at Garland Ranch by Joseph Narvaez, an environmental education coordinator for the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. The striped coral root, Corallorhiza striata, which has been seen in The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park in Santa Cruz County, had never been recorded as existing in Monterey County.

To check the plant's identity, Narvaez contacted photographer Michael Mitchell who in turn contacted Corky Matthews, author of An Illustrated Field Key to the Flowering Plants of Monterey County. Matthews was one of the founders of the Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club and is a lifelong environmentalist. Vern Yadon, Director and Curator Emeritus of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History confirmed the observation.

The striped coral root is quite lovely but inconspicuous and can easily be overlooked. It has no green parts and gets its nutrients from decaying matter.

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