Now Blooming: Squawroot

Squawroot (Conopholis americana) is a plant in the Broomrape family that produces no chlorophyll and has no leaves.  Instead it’s parasitic on the roots of trees, especially oaks.

The only time I notice squawroot is when it blooms in the spring.

I found these flowers on Monday in Schenley Park.


p.s. The green leaves on the left are an invasive plant unrelated to squawroot.  Anyone know its name?  (See the comments for the plant’s identity.  It is not invasive.)

(photo by Kate St. John)

9 thoughts on “Now Blooming: Squawroot

  1. Alas, John. That’s the one thing I’m sure about. It’s not garlic mustard. Someone from Asia who did not speak English called it “chi” but I think they were going to make it into “kim chi”

    1. Its leaf resembles white wood aster but I have watched this plant grow up in the park year after year & it isn’t an aster. Darn I wish I remembered its name!

  2. Both Loree and I think it is White wood aster, Aster divaricatus, which is not a native and usually not considered to be an invasive. Have you ever seen it bloom? It can have a pretty aggressive growth, and I have seen it growing in large patches which could make it appear to be an invasive.


  3. Hello, all, I sent photos to Mark & Loree and indeed it is White wood aster. I agree with Mark that it looks invasive because it’s so aggressive and happens to come up earlier than a lot of other plants.

    So, a note to myself: Get out the camera again when the White Wood Aster (Aster divaricatus) blooms.

  4. Certain natives are often accused of being overly aggressive or even invasive simply because deer do not prefer to eat them. This gives them a strong competitive advantage. In balanced ecosystems, they hold their own but are not able to dominate as they are in more degraded habitats.

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