Bear Corn/Squawroot (Conopholis americana) — Not Your Typical Plant

Plants don’t always abide by the rules.  Some will do as they please.

Take bear corn (Conopholis americana), for instance.  It doesn’t look like the other plants in the woods, nor does it act like them.  Bear corn doesn’t photosynthesize, nor does it contain true leaves.  Its flowers don’t produce any nectar, thus bear corn attracts very few insect pollinators.

Now wait a second… are we sure that bear corn is indeed a member of the plant kingdom?  Plants are supposed to be green, after all, and bear corn is brown.  Perhaps the botanists have got it all wrong…

Well, botanists do make mistakes, there’s certainly no doubt about that.  Though when it comes to placing bear corn in the correct taxonomic kingdom of life, the botanists have got it right.  Bear corn is indeed a plant — it’s just not your typical plant.

There’s something peculiar about bear corn (obviously), and I’d like to tell you all about it.  I recently spent time hanging out with bear corn in the woods of Western Pennsylvania, and with a video camera in hand, I discussed the intimate relationship this fascinating plant has formed with other key species of the forest.

Interested in learning more?  Check out the video!

© 2024 Learn Your Land with Adam Haritan