This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
An erect stout simple glabrous, densely scaly, light brown herb, parasitic on the roots of trees, with yellowish flowers 2-bracteolate under the calyx, in a thick dense bracted spike, the bracts similar to the scales of the stem. Calyx oblique, deeply split on the lower side, 3-4-toothed on the upper. Corolla strongly 2-lipped, the tube slightly curved, the upper lip concave, nearly erect, emarginate, the lower spreading, 3-lobed. Stamens exserted; anther-sacs bristly pubescent. Placentae about equidistant; stigma capitate, obscurely 2-lamellate. Capsule ovoid-globose. [Greek, signifying a scaly cone.]
Three known species, the following typical one of eastern North America, the other southwestern and Mexican.
Orobanche americana L. f. Suppl. 88. 1767. Conopholis americana Wallr. Orobanch. 78. 1825.
Plants 3'-10' high from a thickened base, light brown, usually clustered, covered all over with stiff imbricated scales. Upper scales lanceolate or ovate, acute, 6"-10" long, the lowest much shorter; flowers about i' long, exceedingly numerous in the dense spike which is 6"-10" thick; corolla pale yellow, somewhat exceeding the calyx; anthers sagittate; capsule ovoid-globose, 4"-5" high.
In rich woods at bases of trees, Maine to Ontario, Michigan, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. Cancer-root. Earth-club. Clap-wort. April-Aug.