Flowers of Snowplant
Lassen National Park, CA, USA
The snow plant has to be one of the most impressive and unique plants in the western United States. It gets its name because it emerges from the forest floor soon after the snow melts away in the mountains. The entire plant is red to attract pollinators to its flowers, and it has no green coloration because it is a parasitic plant! It gets all of the nutrients it needs by stealing them from a symbiotic relationship that fungi have with forest trees! Many plants do this same trick to survive in shady forests where there isn't much light for photosynthesis. Next time you are in a thick forest and see odd looking plants with no green coloration, give them a close look, it might be a parasitic plant!