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The snow plant is flowering

It’s a strange sight in the western USA as it looks more like a piece of meat than a plant.

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In our quest here at PlanetSKI to keep you informed about all things to do with snow we thought we’d tell you about the rather strange, Snow Plant, plant that is currently flowering.

So if you have no interest in flowers look away now.

The Sarcodes sanguinea, to give it its proper name, is bursting forth in the Western USA as the snow has melted and it’s quite an odd plant as it does not use photosynthesis to live.

Instead it’s a parasite.

It lives off underground fungi associated with adjacent pine trees so, because of this dependence on fungi and not sunlight, the entire above ground section of the plant is bright red.

Quite a sight

Quite a sight

Its scientific name, was given to it by John Torrey, a famous New York botanist of the 19th Century.

 It translates roughly to “the bloody flesh-like thing,” an allusion to the bright red colour of the plant, the entire plant and not just the flowers.

The Snow plant is difficult to confuse with other plants, and indeed stands a better chance of being confused with a misplaced piece of meat.

It will be found growing out of pine needles and other forest litter on the surface of the ground, near a conifer, and now is the time its out.

For more information take a look at its entry on the web site of The Botanical Society of America.

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