Fungus or plant? White pine-cone shaped

chuckr30(z5, GR-MI)May 21, 2007

Found this plant May 20, 2007 in Hoffmaster park in west Michigan. Each stalk is 3/4 inches wide, about 4 inches tall. Some stalks were 1 inch wide. It looks like a white pine cone. These grow in bunches and I saw no fewer than 8 bunches in the woods just at this one campsite area.

My flower book says an Indian pipestem is similar, but I saw an Indian pipestem as a kid and that had a 1/8 inch stalk, only 4 inches high when blooming.

This thing is clearly not blooming, it is in the early stages of growth.

Picture:

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carol23_gw

It might be a parasitic plant, Conopholis americana.

Here is a link that might be useful: Conopholis americana

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
fredsbog

Carol is correct, it is squaw root. Your book is also correct, in that both squaw root and indian pipes are in the same family, Orobanchaceae. Squaw root is parasitic on the roots of oak trees, and is extremely common in the woods in Northeaster Ohio at this time of Year.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 9:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
car59ma

We have these in a deep purplish/pink color on the forest floor of our property. They grow under the Madrone trees. We have oaks on the property, but these don't grow under them. I loved seeing them come up, but didn't know they may harm the trees. Should we try to knock some of them out? (We don't use poison on anything here) This is the first internet source I have found for any information on these at all - I know I'm not in a similar region as the original post. However, the photo shows an identical plant to the one we have (just a different color). What family of plants do these belong to? Are they a fungi or succulent, or are they in a category of their own? Are they identified by the fact they take their nutrients off of another plant (the roots of the tree)? Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joepyeweed(5b IL)

They are harmless.

Though called parasitic, I wouldn't doubt there is more of a symbiotic relationship than a parasitic one.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 6:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lycopus(z5 NY)

car59ma,

Squawroot is only found in the eastern U.S. and only on oaks. Based on your description it is probably California groundcone (Boschniakia strobilacea) or another species of Boschniakia growing under the madrones. Same family, Orobanchaceae.

These are parasitic plants that lack chlorophyll and have leaves reduced to scale-like structures. Although they get all their nutrition from the tree, they should not do any harm. Consider the size of these plants in relation to the tree.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 3:37AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Redring Milkweed seed availability for 2014
Hi Folks, I received seed of Asclepias variegata (Redring...
wildflowerman_2000
Recommendations for native conifers
Which native conifers would you recommend planting...
tomp123
Echinacea tennesseensis
Does anyone here know the difference in the endangered...
jim_6b
Is it cheating to use varieties that were bread from natives?
For example, instead of native Itea virginica, using...
gribbleton
Arum italicum - how to eradicate
I've just learned how invasive this plant can be. I'm...
shelley_r
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™