The understory, in limited light, is occupied only sparsely by fern, devil's club, and some coralroot
orchids: good winter shelter, poor feed for bear and deer, and not showing the diversity of understory vegetation that biologists associate with "prime" oldgrowth wildlife habitat.
In the deep shade beneath stands of Douglas fir, you see forest plants such as calypso orchid, coralroot
, fetid adder'stongue, and Indian pipe.
An earlier walk, on May 29, will take in the flowering of another Holy Island orchid, the Coralroot
, so named because its roots are thought to resemble coral.
It harbors a variety of botanical rarities for Virginia, including the spotted coralroot
orchid and northern star flower.
There is also a small genus of orchids, called coralroots
, that obtains the majority of its nutrition from a mycorrhizal association with soil fungi.