Friday, February 19, 2010

Snow Plant

Snow plant is a red plant that grows in the litter of coniferous forests from 4,000 to 8,000 feet in elevation, often under pine trees, from the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains in California, northward through California, Nevada and Oregon, blooming from May to July.
It has no chlorophyll. It gets its nutrition from fungi underneath the soil connected to conifers. Many conifers require these fungi to live normally. This is why snow plants are always seen beneath or very close to conifers, growing out of pine needles and other forest litter on the surface of the ground.

The above ground portion begins to grow in late spring as the snow melts and provides an incredible contrast with the snow when it pops up through the snow before it melts. I have seen snow plants each time I've climbed Mt. Baden-Powell in the San Gabriel Mountains, as well as the one time I climbed Cucamonga Peak. I also saw some near Shaver Lake above Fresno. 

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