Tag Archives: Allotropa virgata

We have found a family of Gnome Plants, more than fifteen of them, growing by a trail we use every day. There were three plants growing nearby on the side of the trail that we thought were gnome plants too. But they grew into something quite different - Sugarstick, Allotropa virgata. The first photo was taken on May 11th and the second on May 6th. You can see the bigger one is just beginning to bloom.

And here's a look at two of the Gnome Plants, Hemitomes congestum.

Both of these plants get nutrients from underground fungi, which are on the roots of nearby trees. A fun look at something unusual for you today!

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Sugarstick, also called Candystick, is a very unusual plant that grows on the West Coast. Its Latin name is Allotropa virgata. "Allotropa" means turned differently and refers to the flowers that turn outward or upward on this plant. It's unusual in that it doesn't have chlorophyll and is incapable of photosynthesis. So how does it survive? It obtains its food from fungi that are associated with host trees such as Douglas-Fir and Tan Oak.

It's a rare treat to find one. Nan Brichetto photographed this beauty and I thank her for allowing me to show it to you here.