"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

June 3, 2010

June 3 - Boschniakia hookeri

If you're hiking in western North America and look down and spot a pine cone sitting on its end, take a closer look - it might be Boschniakia hookeri, known as groundcone. These are species of broomrapes, holoparasitic plants with no chlorophyll that depend on plants like alders or huckleberries for water and nutrients. The part that looks like a pinecone can be brown or purple, yellow or red and this is the inflorescence. Native Americans/Canadians sometimes ate the stems of these plants as a snack.


  1. I found these yesterday in Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque, New Mexico, and made a dozen of photographs. The 'flowers' were visited frequently by bees. Last year groundcones were dead and black.

  2. have you documented any further or harvested and dried a sample? they may have rare herbal medicinal value jeffwww2004@yahoo.com

  3. I found one of these next to my blueberry bush here in western Washington. I could not find any information on it until now. Thank you!