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Sarcodes sanguinea (Snowplant)
Wilson, John

Sarcodes sanguinea

Sarcodes sanguinea Torr.

Snowplant, Snow Plant

Monotropaceae (Indian Pipe Family)


USDA Symbol: SASA5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A monotypic genus, Sarcodes is achlorophyllous and mycoheterotrophic; that is, it utilizes ectomycorrhizal fungi in the genus Rhizopogon to obtain carbon from the roots of Red Fir, Abies magnifica.

An unusual, stout, fleshy, entirely bright red plant with bracts overlapping on lower stem and curled among racemes of flowers above.

Once seen, this plant is never forgotten; the brilliant red is startling in the filtered sunlight against the dark background of the forest. Plants poke through the forest floor as snow recedes, drawing their nutrition from the rich humus.


From the Image Gallery

35 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


Native Distribution: Southern Oregon south to southern California.
Native Habitat: In humus of coniferous woods.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-04-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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