A collection of flora from the pacific wonderland.

Northern Groundcone (Boschniakia rossica)

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Yakutania Point Trail, Skagway, AK, 7/2017.

We found this odd non-green plant in a couple locations in flood-prone Cottonwood-Alder forests outside of Skagway, Alaska.  Once we could pick them out of the landscape, they appeared to be everywhere (as in the photo below).  The 2-lipped brown flowers  look like pine cone scales, giving it its common name.  Grizzly bears are said to often gorge on the thick stalks.  There are a million seeds in just three “cones”.

This  middle elevation northern species, found only in northern BC and Alaska, is parasitic on alders, birch, willow, huckleberry , spruce and leatherleaf.   The similar looking Vancouver Groundcone found further south in Washington and Vancouver, BC at lower elevations, is parasitic on salal and huckleberry, and was used as a good luck charm by native tribes in BC.  We’ve also seen the California Groundcone.

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Yakutania Point Trail, Skagway, AK, 7/2017.

 

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