Epifagus americana
left right
2007 Photograph, Beechdrops (Epifagus americana, Broomrape family, Orobanchaceae), Fairfax Villa Park, Fairfax, Virginia, © 2020.
These achlorophyllous (lacking chlorophyll) plants get their nourishment by parasitizing the roots of Beech Trees.  The lower flowers are cleistogamous (never opening and self-pollinating) while the upper flowers have a distinct corolla.  This enables the plant to hedge its bets by insuring that there will be a next generation from the cleistogamous flowers while also enjoying the benefits of cross-pollination through the upper flowers should conditions be adequate for them to form and set their seeds.
Jian Zhe Li

Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography, Waterfowl Photography and Bird Photography from Marsh, River, Field and Forest Habitats.
All images Copyright © 1999 - by Gerry Gantt, all rights reserved.