Conopholis alpina var. mexicana

Alpine Cancer-Root - Conopholis alpina var. mexicana
Railroad Canyon, Black Range, New Mexico
May 9, 2014

This species is also known as Mexican Cancer-Root, Alpine Squawroot, and Ground Cone.  Its scientific synonyms include Conopholis mexicana, Orobanche multiflora var. xanthochroa, and Orobanche xanthochroa.  

This is a root parasitic plant (holoparasite) which lacks chlorophyll (achiorophyllous).

Its range within the United States is limited, as shown on the BONAP map to the right.  Light green indicates that the species is native to, and common within, the county indicated.  In Mexico, it is found as far south as Oaxaca.

The specimen shown below was collected by Edward Palmer in October, 1880, somewhere in Coahuila or Nuevo Leon.

The flowers of this species (protruding from all sides of the cone shaped structure) are cream colored, while the bracts (visible beneath the flowers) are brown.  In the Black Range this species is generally found beneath Ponderosa Pine.  


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Trail 135, Black Range, New Mexico
April 18, 2020
Photograph immediately above and four below







© Robert Barnes 2018