Alpine cancer-root, alpine squawroot
Arizona and New Mexico, west Texas and a small area of south Colorado
Oak and pine woodland, between 5,000 and 6,000 feet
Conopholis alpina is a parasitic plant, lacking leaves and chlorophyll. Stout, creamy-yellow or light brown stems rise just a few inches, pushing up through the soil and overlying vegetation. Stems are often almost as broad as they are tall, and bear two-lipped flowers on all sides, giving the plant the appearance of a pine cone.
The corolla is up to 0.8 inches long, and is angled upwards. The base of the corolla is enclosed by a short, toothed calyx, and subtended by a bract, which is a little longer than the flower. Inside the corolla tube are several stamens, generally hidden, and a stigma which protrudes a little way. Flowers at the base of the plant open first.