Epifagus virginiana (L.) Bart. - Beech Drops

Epifagus virginiana plant

Family - Orobanchaceae


Epifagus virginiana stem






Epifagus virginiana flowerChasmogamous flower...

Epifagus virginiana flower...front view.

Epifagus virginiana flowerCleistogamous flowers.

Flowering - August - November.

Habitat - Beech forests, deciduous woods where Beech trees occur.

Origin - Native to North America.

Other information - This interesting and attractive little species can be found scattered throughout Alabama wherever Beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) trees can be found. The plant is parasitic on the roots of the Beech. E. virginiana is often overlooked as its stems blend perfectly with fallen leaves on the forest floor. The plant produces sterile, showy (chasmogamous) flowers near the tips of the stems and fertile (pistillate) cleistogamous flowers at the middle and base of the stems.
The genus name Epifagus derives from the Greek "epi" meaning "upon, over, beside" and "fag(us)" which is the classical Latin name for the Beech.
The species epithet virginiana means "of Virginia."

Alabama Distribution:

Epifagus virginiana map

Photographs taken at Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge, AL., 10-2-05.

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