Squawroot (Conopholis americana)

Squawroot (Conopholis americana), Great Falls, Virginia

Squawroot (Conopholis americana)

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Squawroot (Conopholis americana)

Squawroot, I must admit, is one of the strangest wildflowers I have ever seen.  I initially thought it was an early season mushroom until I took a closer look.

Squawroot (Conopholis americana) is a member of the Orobanchacheae or Broomrape family.  I guess in a way this plant is like a mushroom as it, and all members of this family of plants, contains no chlorophyll and is a root parasite. The Squawroot is a pale brown or yellowish-brown, oak root parasite.  It has an erect, stout, unbranched stem ranging between 2- and 8-inches in height and about 1-inch thick.  The stems are usually clumped and covered with numerous brown, overlapping, fleshy scales.  The small whitish flowers with leaf-like bracts are borne in a dense terminal spike that usually constitutes half, or more, of the shoot.  These flowers appear in May and June.  This unusual plant can be found throughout the eastern seaboard from Nova Scotia to Florida and as far west as Alabama.

6 Comments

  1. I gotta admit, that is an odd looking plant. But, you’ve presented it very nicely, Mark.

  2. Beautifully lit Mark! Flash going on there? By the way thanks so much for recommending me to the UK Photographers circle on Google+ earlier today!

    • Tim, this is a scan of an old transparency and my records are not good enough to confirm whether I did use flash. Looking at some of the other shots taken on the same trip into the woods, I believe there was a touch of fill-flash here.

  3. Nice write-up on this unusual plant, unknown to me until now. Perhaps I’ll recognize one if I see it. 😉

    Really nice details and color on this image, Mark. Nice DoF as well.

  4. That is a strange looking plant. You’ve brought out the details in it beautifully.

  5. Really strange plant!! Cool capture though!

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