Sarcodes sanguinea - Snow Plant
Snow plant is an herbaceous perennial wildflower with a limited geographic distribution in California, Nevada, and Oregon. Snow plant with its scarlet red coloration and early spring flowering is a beautiful wildflower. Snow plant is the only mycotrophic wildflower in the heath (Ericaceae) that is not a ghostly white color or various shades of reddish to purplish brown.
Snow plant's distribution is local. It is uncommon in its habitat. When a fortunate hiker does come across the brilliant red scarlet plants, she will generally be greeted by several individual snow plants occurring as a small colony.
Sarcodes sanguinea (Sarcodes – flesh-like as to the inflorescence; sanguinea – blood as to the color of the plant) ranges in height from 15 to 30 centimeters. The plant is a brilliant scarlet red except for the maturing fruit that is pinkish-red. It is fleshy and 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 containing sticky seeds. Once ripened, seed is released through an opening at the base of the style.
Sarcodes sanguinea flowers from late spring to mid-summer. It is found in mature, moist, shaded, coniferous, or mixed forests from 1,000 to 3,100 meters.