Conopholis americana

Conopholis americana, American cancer-root or squawroot is a species of non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant native to North America. In the Blue Ridge Mountains, C. americana is called "bear corn" because it resembles an ear of corn. It is also called "cancer-root" because it was reputed to have therapeutic properties upon the disease. [1].

This plant is parasitic on the roots of woody plants, especially oaks (genus Quercus) and beech (genus Fagus). It is found in every state of the United States east of the Mississippi River.

The only part of the plant generally seen is the cone-shaped flower head, which appears above ground in spring. The entire structure is a yellowish color, turning to brown.

It is considered an exploitably vulnerable species in New York, and a threatened species in New Hampshire.


  1. USDA profile .

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Conopholis americana


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