Woodland pinedrops, Albany beechdrops
Western states between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, plus small areas of west Texas, west Nebraska and South Dakota
Between 1 and 3 feet
Shady, moist places in coniferous forests, especially ponderosa pine woodland, from near sea level to 12,000 feet
None, only tiny scales growing against the stalk
Pterospora andromedea is one of the more unusual plants of the western forests. It lacks chlorophyll and has no leaves, producing only a tall, rigid, reddish spike bearing clusters of pendent, egg-shaped, cream-yellow flowers at intervals. Flowers are formed of five short red sepals and a rounded corolla that opens to five curved lobes, with a small opening underneath; they are covered by short hairs and a sticky substance.
Flowers are followed by red-brown, pumpkin-shaped fruits which have tissue-like appendages underneath. The plant flowers only once, and the withered, brownish stems may remain upright for several years before falling.