Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This striking flower is a parsitic plant!
Not only that, it is parasitic on fungi.
To explain further....
Sarcodes snguinea is a member of a parasitic group from the Ericaceae (blueberry, cranberry, azalea, heath & heather plant family) and grows underground by parasitically tapping into the nutrient supplies of a single species of Rhizopogon, a mycorrhizal fungus...that is to say a fungus in a symbiotic relationship with a conifer.
Pretty specific plant.
Sarcodes sanguinea is found in the Sierra Nevada region. My Dad and brother were there hiking, found this strange plant, and emailed it to me.
When I showed it to Adam, he said he saw some in Yosemite 3 years ago and showed me pictures, too!
It's common name is the snow plant.
Here and here are links for more info.