Mystery plant 036

This intriguing plant can be found in hardwood forests of eastern North America.  When you can identify it, please comment with both the common name and scientific name.  Also, you are welcome to share any personal connection with, or story you have of, this plant.


Pushing up through soil and leaf litter in spring


Upper portion of plant beginning to bloom


Group of plants


Close view of flowering portion of plant


Close view of pollinated flowers and the developing seeds


Dead plant material persists through fall and winter


ANSWER (subsequently added to this post to facilitate the “search” function for these images):  Squawroot (Conopholis americana)

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2 Responses to Mystery plant 036

  1. Jane says:

    OK – I’ve never seen this myself (wish I could!) but I guessed by the pics that it’s a saprophytic orchid. i googled “saprophytic plants” and picked the one most likely – Conopholis americana, broomrape/ American cankerroot/squawroot. There’s a picture and description at

    • Angelyn says:

      Great job of researching, Jane! Although it’s not an orchid, this is, indeed, Squawroot (Conopholis americana). I find these “non-green” plants (without chlorophyll) quite intriguing.

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