A collection of flora from the pacific wonderland.

Pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea)

Fisher Creek Trail, North Cascades N.P. , WA, 8/2012.

Many urn-shaped flowers filled with seeds hang like pendants off a long raceme in this showy saprophyte (a name for plants that derive their nourishment from decaying plant material).  Like the Pinesap and Indian pipe, it is a mycotrophic plant able to tap into nutrition unavailable to photosynthesizing green plants.  It co-exists with a fungi that reduces decaying organic materials on the forest floor, which can then be absorbed by the roots of these plants.    After the plant dies, the tall dried stalks (tallest of the saprophytes) remain for several years and are often used in floral decorations.  Common in humus rich-soil under the pine needles of Ponderosa Pine trees and other conifers, especially east of the Cascade Crest.

The flowers begin closely clustered at the top of the plant and spread along the stalk as it elongates (see below).

Burnt Lake Trail, Mount Hood N.F., OR, 7/2013.

Burnt Lake Trail, Mount Hood N.F., OR, 7/2013.

South Prairie Rd.  (FSR 66), Columbia Gorge, WA, 7/2014.

South Prairie Rd. (FSR 66), Columbia Gorge, WA, 7/2014.

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