Corallorhiza bentleyi is a rare mycoheterotrophic orchid which was described by Freudenstein (1999). The type specimen was found in West U.S.A. in the state of West Virginia by Stanley Bentley. Further distribution of this species is today only known from Virginia (POWO). Most Corallorhiza species are clonal, but variation in color of the studied population suggested that more than one clone was present. Further investigation of the genetic diversity was realised by Fama (2018), who studied all 10 populations that were known at the time. Earlier studies revealed that this species relies solely on the interaction with the fungus Tomentella fuscocinerea. Corallorhiza striata is the closest relative of C. bentleyi. Both have an unlobed labellum with involute margins, fused lamellae at the base of the labellim and the absence of a small sour (often called a "mentum") at the summit of the ovary. The cleistogamous flowers of C. bentleyi differ strikingly in size from northern american flowers of C. striata (one-half to one-third their size). This sets them in proximity of the small flowered mexican variety C. striata var. involuta. The taxa differ in the proportions of the fused lamellae at the labellum base, being ca. half the length of the labellum in C. bentleyi and ca. one-quarter the length in C. striata var. involuta.
Corallorhiza bentleyi Freudenstein 1999
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