The spring hill is alive with growing, singing, blossoming things - with oaks just coming into new leaf, and warblers flitting and singing among them . . . with young squirrels in a hole in a hickory, and a crested flycatcher shrieking in spring ecstasy on a. dead branch . . . with dogwood shining in white bloom on the hillside, and wild raisin blossoming too, and a red admiral butterfly dallying from flower to flower and from tree to tree. In the lower strata of the hill woods, the Christmas ferns stretch out their new, pale fronds. Mayapples and wild geraniums are in bloom; so are the wild blue phlox and the sand phlox and wild columbine. The floor of the woods itself is still covered with its coating of glossy old brown oak leaves. And jutting through the leaves, there on a steep slope, are three slender pale stems with three, violet-shaped tubular flowers of palest lavender. The throat of the flower is folded in pleats and is bright canary yellow, and there is a slight fragrance which becomes part of the springtime, there on the hill. Here is that non-green parasitic plant, the one-flowered cancer-root, growing up from its host plant's roots in the oak woods.
Orobanche uniflora L.
May. Hilly woods.
One-flowered cancer-root is a member of the Broomrape family which is composed of parasitic plants. It is found on the roots of asters and goldenrods and does not seem to barm the host plants.