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An obligate parasite of gymnosperms, mainly black spruce but also white pine and other conifers.
Newfoundland and Quebec west to MN and Saskatchewan, south to northern NJ, PA, and MI.
Stem to 1 cm or a little more, simple or with a few opposite branches; green brown. Leaves scale-like, tiny, roundish. Plants dioecious. Fruit a berry on a short, recurved pedicel.
Flowers April to May
Wetland Indicator: NA
This tiny plant is parasitic, primarily on black spruce and less often on white spruce or occasionally on other conifers. It does not produce chlorophyll and obtains nutrition via a specialized root called a haustorium, which penetrates the vascular system of the host. The fruits are forcefully released when mature and are sticky, allowing them to adhere to nearby trees or to animals.
Gleason, Henry A.
and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States
and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY
Swink, F. and G.
Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.
© Michael Hough 2004