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Pinedrops (Petrospora andromedea)

Do you know about Pinedrops (Petrospora andromedea)? Pinedrops are a flower that breaks all the rules. You will see no green on this plant. This saprophyte has no chlorophyll to turn sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into the food it needs to grow. It opens a window into what is happening in the WWW (aka Woods Wide Web) that flourished out of sight in the forest sub-floor. Instead it takes – or as some might say, steals or hijacks – what it needs from a vast underground Mycorrhizae web consisting of a fungus that connects to the root systems of its host plant to form a symbiotic relationship. The fungus provides its host with additional water and nutrients while the host provides the fungus with carbohydrates from photosynthesis. In the case of Pinedrops, the host is predominantly Ponderosa pine. So look to the thick decomposing needle beds around Ponderosa pines to find this plant. It can grow four feet high, so it’s hard to miss. The previous year’s growth dries to a deep rich brown color. This plant is bi-annual and blooms every other year. Pinedrops is also known as Coyote’s Arrow

 

Pine drops often grow in the thick beds of decomposing needles found at the base of a Ponderosa pine

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