Monday, 29 July 2013

Taxon of the Day: Kopsiopsis hookeri

Kopsiopsis hookeri 

When passing this plant you would be forgiven for thinking that a couple of pine cones had an amazingly fortuitous and synchronised landing. On further inspection you realise that perhaps that may not be the most accurate assessment and move on to a different thought - What is that?

Kopsiopsis hookeri (Walp.) Govaerts or Hooker's groundcone is a parasitic plant found in North West America (including Canada hence another common name Vancouver groundcone) that takes its food from another plant's (most noteably Gaultheria shallon) underground roots, rather than through photosynthesis or other means. They can grow a few inches in height and like their common namesake have overlapping scale-like leaves that are superficially similar to that of a conifer cone. The flowers range in colour from yellow to red to dark purple and bloom between June and July.

Kopsiopsis is a member of the almost completely parasitic plant family Orobanchaceae in the order Lamiales. Up until 1995 it was widely thought to be part of the genus Boschniakia, but taxonomic work carried out by Kew as part of a large ongoing world checklist initiative segregated this genus. This was later supported by DNA analysis. This circumscription was then adopted by ITIS Regional during their own taxonomic updates.

CoL Annual Checklist: Kopsiopsis hookeri
CoL contributor: ITIS Regional
Image copyright: R L F Matthias

No comments:

Post a Comment