Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gnome Plant

This has proved to be a great summer for finding uncommon and rare flowers in Oregon for me. Thankfully my work keeps me in the forest most of the summer. I recently came across three different populations of a little known and rarely seen flower called Gnome Plant. Gnome Plant, Hemitomes congestum, is the rarest of the monotropoids. This is the same family as Indian Pipe and Pinesap. Besides being rare, it's incredibly small typically only standing 3 or 4 cm above the ground when flowering. It's range is also small existing from central California to southern British Columbia. According to the Botanical Society of America it is still unknown what insect pollinates Gnome Plant. It is also thought that the flowers are later eaten by an animal that disperses the seeds. However, it is uncertain as to what animal may feed on Gnome Plant.I also came across several examples of the pink variety of Pinesap, Monotropa hypopithys.

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