Pinedrop

Scientific Name:

Pterospora andromedea

Type:

Parasitic Plant

Habitat:

Coniferous forests

Range:

Alaska south to northern Mexico; also from southeastern Canada to northeastern United States

Status:

Threatened in Michigan; endangered in New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

“Pinedrops are tall, reddish-purple plants. They have sticky stems and small, white to pink, flowers that hang upside-down and are shaped like urns. Their leaves are small, purplish in color, and resemble scales. Pinedrops bloom from June to August. Following flowering the stems dry out and become woody, the dry stalks can be seen through the winter into the next year." - Karen Wiese

Fast Facts:

  • Pinedrops are root parasites. Unlike most other plants, they produce very little chlorophyll and do not conduct photosynthesis, hence their lack of green coloration. Instead, pinedrops get their energy from a mycorrhizal fungus that is associated with pine trees.

  • According to the Native American Ethnobotany database the Cheyenne used pinedrops as an astringent, to stop nosebleeds and to stop bleeding at the lungs.

  • Here in the Truckee Meadows, pinedrops can be found at Galena Creek Regional Park. 

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Emma Wynn (research, content, and photos)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

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