Squaw-root from Jerry in SC

Dr. Hill,

I discovered these the other day at Langsford Canal State Park in South Carolina, about 5 miles NW of Lancaster along the Catawba River.

I only saw 2 places that contained these: a 25 sq. ft. area that contained what looked like very small red tips plants (no more than a foot tall) and the 2nd place, there were a few out in the open (I use that term loosely). Both places were along the canal walk portion of the park maybe 200′ from the river. It was heavily wooded and as I’m sure you can see by the size of the leaves on the ground, this plant was no more than 6” to 8” tall.

I didn’t know about the website (SCNPS) until I started looking at other websites to see if I could find one that showed a photo of my ‘find,’ otherwise I would have provided better documentation. But, any help would be appreciated.

Thank you.
Jerry B

Hi Jerry,

Your plant is a flowering plant that is a parasite mostly on oak tree roots.  It is called Squaw-root or Cancer-root, Conopholis americana. It is a very interesting plant.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conopholis_americana

I hope this helps.
Steve Hill  – South Carolina Native Plant Society [SCNPS]
Dr. Steven R. Hill
University of Illinois
Champaign, Illinois

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