En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - October 04, 2012

From: Dinwiddie, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of a plant saprophytic on oaks
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is name of plant poking up through the leaves near base of oak tree that appears as a cluster of yellow-brown stalks that resemble small pinecones or pineapples or cobs of corn?

ANSWER:

This sounds like Conopholis americana (American cancer-root), a saprophytic plant that feeds on the roots of oak trees.   Here is more information from Illinois Wildflowers and from Plants of Wisconsin.  Here are photos from Southwest Virginia Flora.

If this isn't the plant you saw and you have photos of it, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


American cancer-root
Conopholis americana

American cancer-root
Conopholis americana

American cancer-root
Conopholis americana

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
July 22, 2013 - I've lived at my apartment complex for a year now and this current spring/summer I noticed the grounds keeper leaving a fern like plant that is approx. 1-2 feet tall and approx. 1 foot wide. It's le...
view the full question and answer

What is gelatinous plant in a Missouri lake
July 25, 2008 - Q what is gel like plant floating in lake looks like a bag filled with green living plant and is see thru and has red. when touched feels like piece of fat but seems to be living in water. Missouri
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
August 13, 2008 - I have a plant that shoots seeds out of pods in late summer and grows like crazy. The stem looks like a rhubarb plant. It has multiple leaves, and beautiful flowers that look like orchids. I was wo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on epiphyllums
March 25, 2005 - I don't have a digital cameria, but I hope you can identify my plants easily by description. I believe they are called something similar to the word "epithelium". They look like a "mother-in-la...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Chicago
August 18, 2010 - This plant is VERY common along highways across the entire midwest, and often other parts of the country. It has a long stem with a cluster of white flowers usually only on the top of the stem. The le...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center