The members of this family are typical parasites, destitute of green foliage and practically colorless.
This peculiar growth is found almost exclusively in beech woods. At first glance it might readily be taken for a little group of twigs projecting above the ground. The stalk is tough, brownish, erect and has several erect branches at the top. Along the lower part of the stem are a few scale-like bracts that represent the best the plant can do in the way of leaves.
The stems attains heights of 6 to 20 inches. At the ends of the branches are a number of curved, tubular flowers; these are stained a dull magenta. While they are perfect in all their parts, they are usually infertile. Just below the tubular blossoms are a number of tiny ones resembling buds. These are cleistogamous flowers that never open, but are fertilized without external agency.
Beech Drops attaches its roots to those of beech trees and gets all its sustenance from them. It blooms from August to Oct. and ranges from N. B. to Minn, and southwards.
A. Beech Drops.
One-Flowered Cancer-Root; Broom-Rape (Orobanche Uniflora) is an attractive little parasite with a subterannean scaly stem, that sometimes branches underground, each branch sending up one to four very slender stalks from 3 to 6 inches high and bearing at the top a single blossom each.
These terminal flowers are tubular and have five rounded lobes. Their color varies from a pale purple to a cream color and they average about three-quarters of an inch in length. They are chiefly fertilized by small flies, attracted by the slight fragrance they emit. It is found in moist woods throughout the United States and southern Canada.