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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.