Thursday, August 31, 2006

Plant Sighting


Found this on a hike a few weeks ago. I've read about it and seen pictures, but never had an actual encounter. Boshniakia rossica, also known as Broomrape, poque, ghost plant, cancer root, and Northern ground cone. Why is this so interesting that it deserves a blog entry? This kick ass thing is a parasite---it doesn't photosynthesize at all---no chlorophyll---and feeds off of the decaying roots of Alder (the species I've pictured here.)


According to Schofield's "Discovering Wild Plants," various members of this species have been used in China as an aphrodisiacs. Folklore tells that the phallic plants sprang up from the semen dropped by dragons and wild stallions. (I didn't see either on my hike along the north fork of the Chena River, but hey....you just never know.) Posted by Picasa

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