Allotropa virgata - Sugarstick

Sugarstick is an herbaceous perennial wildflower with a geographic distribution in the western United States, California, and Nevada north to Washington and east to Montana, where it is commonly encountered. Sugarsticks occur above ground as a cluster of flowering stalks.

Allotropa virgata.
Allotropa virgata. Photo by Chris Wagner.

Map of North America showing green shaded areas where the species may be found.
Allotropa virgata range map. USDA PLANTS Database.

Allotropa virgata (Allotropa - turned differently; virgata - rod) refers to the flowers turned outward or upward.

Allotropa virgata attains a height of 50 centimeters or less. The plant is glabrous. The leaves are scale-like on the flower stalk (peduncle). The flower stalk is distinct in its white and red or maroon stripes from which the common name Sugarstick follows. The inflorescence is a raceme of densely arranged flowers. The flowers are white and are turned outward or upward. The fruit is a capsule. Once ripened, seed is released through a slit occurring from the base to the tip. The plant is persistent after the seeds have dispersed.

Allotropa virgata.
Allotropa virgata flower. Photo by Nancy Cotner.

Allotropa virgata.
Allotropa virgata. Photo by Nancy Cotner.

Allotropa virgata flowers from early to mid summer. It is found in mature, moist, shaded, oak, mixed or coniferous forests from 75 to 3,000 meters.

Conservation Concern

Allotropa virgata is a Forest Service Sensitive species in the Intermountain Region.

Allotropa virgata.
Allotropa virgata. Photo by Nancy Cotner.

Allotropa virgata.
Allotropa virgata. Photo by Russ Holmes.