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Pterospora andromedea (Woodland pinedrops)
Cressler, Alan

Pterospora andromedea

Pterospora andromedea Nutt.

Woodland Pinedrops, Pinedrops

Monotropaceae (Indian Pipe Family)


USDA Symbol: PTAN2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A monotypic genus, Pterospora is achlorophyllous and mycoheterotrophic; that is, it utilizes ectomycorrhizal fungi of the genus, Rhizopogon to obtain carbon from the roots of coniferous trees.

The stiffly erect, leafless stems of this reddish-brown plant often grow in clusters, and are covered with glandular hairs. Pale yellowish-brown egg-shaped flowers hang in a long raceme.

Stems grow for only one year, but remain as dried stalks for several years. The genus name, from Greek words for "winged seeds," refers to the net-like wing at one end of each minute seed that carries it to a new site as it is sprinkled from the capsule.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Brown
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MI , MT , NE , NH , NM , NV , NY , OR , SD , TX , UT , VT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: NB , PE
Native Distribution: Alaska south throughout West to northern Mexico; also from southeastern Canada to northeastern United States.
Native Habitat: Deep humus of coniferous forests; in the West especially common under ponderosa pine.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Weird-looking rootless plant, perhaps a fungus
August 23, 2008
While out it my backyard (i.e. the Black Hills of South Dakota), I spotted a weird-looking rootless plant (I think it may be a fungus) growing beneath the Ponderosa Pines. It was the only one in the a...
view the full question and answer

Additional resources

USDA: Find Pterospora andromedea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pterospora andromedea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pterospora andromedea


Record Modified: 2018-11-14
Research By: TWC Staff

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