Parasitic (?) plant on Vancouver Island

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by djp2, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. djp2

    djp2 New Member

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    I'm wondering if anyone can identify this plant that I found growing on Little Mountain, near Parksville, BC. It was around six to ten inches tall, and was growing in a dry douglas fir/manzanita/arbutus forest on a south-facing slope. I wondered if it might be 'Vancouver ground cone' but it just doesn't look quite like the pictures I've seen of that species.

    Edited to add: the pictures were taken in late May.
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Allotropa virgata aka candystick or sugarstick.

    Nice find, I've seen it at Koksilah River Prov. Park.
     
  3. djp2

    djp2 New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply! I was going crazy trying to figure out what that was.

    There are a very large number of them growing on Little Mountain, though I'm not sure if they appear every year.
     
  4. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    In case you are interested, A. virgata is exclusively parasitic on the mycelium of the American Matsutake, Tricholoma magnivelare. That should be a good location to find Pine Mushrooms.
     
  5. ScottWales

    ScottWales Member

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    I find it amazing how much this looks like the broomrapes we get here in North Wales (Orobanche hederae and others), which are also parasites, even though the plants are botanically completely unrelated.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I've never seen this myself, even when going to a nearby location where it was mentioned as being present in a recent print reference. Although, as you say inflorescences of plants of this type may not be produced every year.
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Ron,

    The place I've seen it in "abundance" near you is Deer Park Rd (Olympic Nat'l Park eastside), and have spotted it there in two separate years. Look for it in the late July (my photos are from Jul 25), I _think_ along this section of the road. Descending from the mountain top in mid- to late afternoon, it is easiest to spot on the righthand side of the road, on the embankments above the road where the soil is covered in moss. I recall seeing about a dozen plants that time.

    The other occasion, we spotted it while ascending the road toward the peak. This was again on the right (so opposite to above), and on roadside where the gravel meets the vegetation. This was very near (first mile or two) once the road enters the park proper -- I think that was first week of August, and the plant was very dusty and past bloom.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Thanks! Rings a bell, possibly I saw those there many years ago and forgot.
     

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