Pterospora andromedea – Pinedrops

Pinedrops is an herbaceous perennial wildflower with a broad geographic distribution in the western and northeastern United States. It is most commonly encountered in the western United States. Pinedrops occurs above ground as a cluster of flowering stalks.

Pterospora andromedea.
Pterospora andromedea. Photo by Charles Peirce.

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

Pterospora andromedea (Pterospora – winged seed; andromedea - from the nodding reddish to white flowers that are similar to the flowers of Andromeda polifolia) ranges in height from 30 to 100 centimeters, although it can occasionally attain a height of 2 meters. It is the tallest species of the mycotrophic wildflowers in the Heath family (Ericaceae). The plant is densely glandular pubescent. The leaves are scale-like. The inflorescence is a raceme of densely arranged flowers. The flowers are pendant. The fruit is a capsule. Once ripened, seed is released through a slit occurring from the base to the tip.

Pterospora andromedea.
Pterospora andromedea. Photo by Al Schneider.

Pterospora andromedea.
Pterospora andromedea. Photo by Al Schneider.

Pterospora andomedea flowers from early to mid summer. It is found in mature, moist, shaded, coniferous or mixed forests from 60 to 3,700 meters.

Conservation Concern

Pterospora andromedea is listed as threatened in Michigan and endangered in New York, Vermont and Wisconsin.

For More Information

Pterospora andromedea.
Pterospora andromedea. Photo by Charles Peirce.

Pterospora andromedea.
Pterospora andromedea. Photo by Al Schneider.