Snow Plant

I ran across these Snow Plants on my Hike up in the High sierra’s. I Found quite a few of them. I was curious to find out about them and this is what I discovered. Their species name is Sarcodes sanguinea, commonly called the snow plant or snow flower. It is a parasitic plant that derives sustenance and nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi that attach to roots of trees. The snow plant takes advantage of this mutualism by tapping into the network and stealing sugars from the photosynthetic partner by way of the fungus. Sarcodes sanguinea is native to western North America from Oregon through the mountains of California into Baja California. Its name derives from the striking red flower that emerges from the sometimes still snow-covered ground in early spring or mid-May in high elevations, such as those of the High Sierra Nevada.

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