Snow Plant

The snow plant, Sarcodes sanguinea, is really pretty amazing. Coming up out of snow or forest undergrowth, it produces no chlorophyll. Without chlorphyll, it can’t synthesize sunlight. The lack of chlorphyll capability explains why this plant is red, not green. This snow dude relies on detritus from beneath the snow or on the forest floor to make its living.

While supposedly the stalk of the snow plant tastes like asparagus, it’s a fairly rare plant, and protected—so I didn’t try tasting it. (To say that a plant tastes like asparagus is roughly like saying that some exotic meat, such as albino rattle viper, tastes “like chicken.”)

Julian and I came across this glowing snow plant as we were exploring Yosemite’s Wawona grove of sequoias. Photographed on-tripod with my 105mm macro lens in a shaft of sunlight hitting the forest floor at f/36 and 1/13 of a second.

This entry was posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Photography.

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