If you are strolling around the meadow in April, look for the amazing snow plant. Its scientific name Sarcodes sanguinea means bloody flesh-like thing, not a very appealing moniker for this startlingly red bloom. Snow plant is red because it makes no chlorophyll; it is mycotrphic, relying on fungi of conifers for nutrition.
That’s why you’ll find them near the base of pine trees in shady areas, poking through pine needles and forest litter and sometimes snow. The flowers on the stalk are closely packed, each one with five petals forming a bell shape.
Snow plants are fairly rare and are found only in California, Oregon, and Nevada. If you find a snow plant in the park or elsewhere, please leave them undisturbed for others to enjoy. (Source: US Forest Service) Article by Claudia Beymer