Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Calling All Plant People!

Okay, all you Plant People: we have a mystery plant here and need your help in identifying it.

It was found in the moist woods along the road into Camp Santanoni here in Newcomb. The photo was taken by Hannah Lee, one of our college interns this summer. According to Hannah, it was about 8-10" tall when she took this photo, which was over this last weekend.

I suspect that part of our problem in identifying this is that the flowers are not open yet. Even so, we've looked at all the saprophytic plants in Newcomb's Wildflower Guide and none seem to match. We are leaning towards it being some kind of orchis, but can get no further.

Suggestions? Ideas? I'm counting on you, Woodswalker, to know what it is!!!


  1. Boy, you got me!!! My first guess would be Squawroot (Conopholis americana), but it seems too tall and skinny for that, the stem scales too far apart. But I bet it's related. Be sure to show us photos of this plant in bloom. Let's hope somebody knows and tells us what it is. Another possibility is some kind of Pinesap, but you've probably already ruled that out. What trees and plants accompany it? As they say, you are what you eat!

  2. AH! I'm crushed! I thought for sure you would know, Jackie! Oh, well...the mystery continues. I had thought beechdrops or pinesap at first, but pinesap looks a lot like Indian Pipe, so that's out. Beechdrops are much thinner and branched. The coralroots seem closest, but no match yet. Hannah is headed back out after work to see if it is in bloom. She's determined to keep going out there until it is and she can get pics of the flowers. We WILL identify this thing if it kills us!

  3. Thanks, TourPro. We looked up the Wild Asparagus, and unfortunately it doesn't seem to fit. WA is a yellowish-green, and by this time of year it is tall and feathery, just like domestic asaparagus. As a matter of fact, Hannah found some WA on her way out from Santanoni last night. It was a good thought, though!