Conopholis americana American cancer-root Orobanchaceae COAM; Q (DeCandido 2001); R; (DeCandido 2001) possibly historic.


Conopholis Saulys

Conopholis americana.© 2001 Eleanor (Accessed 5/2014).

Conopholis americana is a herbaceous root parasite of some oak species. Entire plant yellowish or pale brown (no chlorophyll), 5-20 cm tall, erect, unbranched, stem stout, covered by leaf scales, often forming rounded knobs on tree roots, resembling old cones of white pine. 

Leaves reduced to scales, to 2 cm long, fleshy, egg-shaped. 

Flowers very irregular, tubular about 1 cm long, in axils of leaf scales on upper half of the plant; blooms May-June. 

Fruit dry, oval, tipped by persistent stigma, seeds small, numerous . 

Wetland status: UPL. 

Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent, possibly historic. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Rich oak woods. Often hidden under fallen leaves.