Monotropsis odorata Ell. - Carolina Beach Drops

Monotropsis odorata plant

Family - Monotropaceae








Monotropsis odorata flowers

Monotropsis odorata flowersFlowers, front-view.

Flowering - February - April.

Habitat - Mixed deciduous woods.

Origin - Native to North America.

Other information - This minute species has been rarely collected in Alabama and is either actually rare or just overlooked. The plant only grows to about 5cm tall and the chaffy leaves blend in very well with the forest floor. The plant is saprophytic on the roots of oaks. The flowers of the plant have white tips at first and then quickly turn completely reddish-pink like the rest of the plant.
The genus name means "the appearance of Monotropa" as this species resembles the closely related "Monotropa uniflora and M. hypopythis. Monotropa derives from the Greek "mono" meaning "one" and "tropa" which means "turn or change". This name refers to the way the flowers of the plant hang down to one side of the plant and then turn straight up in fruit.

Alabama Distribution:

Monotropsis odorata map

Photographs taken at Hanging Rock State Park, NC., 3-22-03.

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