Hemitomes congestum

To conclude the series of Oregon wildflowers, a photograph of a gnome plant. The conifer cone and needles gives a sense of scale, I hope. These small plants are easily overlooked, and perhaps this is why this past August was only the third time I’ve encountered this species (the first being in July of 2002 in West Vancouver’s Cypress Falls Park, the second in July of 2004 on Mt. Elphinstone on the Sunshine Coast of BC). Coincidentally, while doing this wet hike in Willamette National Forest, I was thinking about Hemitomes congestum during the walk in. On my way out, I spotted this plant (and a few others that were just emerging). Perhaps I noticed it from the corner of my eye while passing by it the first time, and that brought it into my thoughts.

A monotypic genus (only one species in the genus), Hemitomes congestum can only be found in western North America, from southwestern British Columbia to California (although Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and MacKinnon reports a disjunct population in west central British Columbia near Terrace).

Like its botanical cousin Monotropa uniflora, Hemitomes congestum is a mycoheterotroph; lacking chlorophyll, It taps into an existing tree-fungal root-association and extracts sugars via the fungus via the tree (please read the Monotropa uniflora entry for a better explanation / additional links). What excites me is that one of the known fungal associates of Hemitomes congestum is Hydnellum peckii, a fungus species I’ve wanted to see since I first became aware of it in that forum thread. Now that I know a few locations for gnome plant, maybe I can track down a bleeding tooth fungus!

Lastly, Botany Photo of the Day is taking a bit of a holiday. The next entry will certainly be published by January 4, 2010, though there is the possibility of some entries being published during the prior week. In 2010, not only will Botany Photo of the Day be celebrating its 5th anniversary in April, but there will also be a series of thematic photographs each month to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity. More details to follow in early January.

Hemitomes congestum

42 responses to “Hemitomes congestum”

  1. Meg Bernstein

    Happy holidays!

  2. Vicki

    You will be missed, but you are deserving of some off time. Happy holidays.

  3. Annie

    Thanks for all of these postings. I am always intrigued by your finds and comments, and greatly enjoy each image you share.
    Happy Holidays. Annie

  4. annie Morgan

    Many thanks again for your wonderful photos and excellent descriptions. Merry Christmas and may 2010 bring you good health and joy.

  5. jerryclarktate

    this site is always a welcome addition. i know what you mean when you say ‘out of the corner of my eye’. i’ve walked some woods…

  6. Suzanne

    Thank you so so much for the daily enrichment you provide us. Enjoy the holidays!

  7. Quin

    yes, thanks so much for all you do, thanks for being willing to come back sharing wonderful things – here’s to all the elves’ and imps’ solstices……

  8. Mandy Macdonald

    Happy festive season, and many thanks for these daily e-jewels!

  9. John Peterson

    Yes, thank you for the beautiful photographs and the informative writing. I’ll be looking forward to the resumption of these daily pleasures. Happy Holidays!

  10. mary

    I haven’t said “thank you” for your efforts in finding, photographing, and posting the information you send day by day. So, herewith, a word of gratitude.
    I live in the deep southeast U.S. (Mississippi) and find most of the specimens very much different from what I see in our woods and forests.

  11. elizabeth a airhart

    gently at night how lovely
    the virgin snow falls
    each ice crystal a pattern
    silenty drifting down
    a comfort in the darkness
    of the night my thoughts
    drifting as quietly as the
    snow in silent meditation
    elizabeth a
    merry christmas to daniel and ubc
    to the whole world of people who
    visit this page and contribute
    have a merry merry holiday

  12. b moro

    And when the light returns, so will Bpotd. Thank you Daniel for joy and fascination every day.

  13. phillip

    ….peace on earth…peace on earth through science….peace because of the awesome beauty and mysteries around us….peace because we are intellegent….peace because we know love….
    thank you …BPOD….and all my unknown friends for another year…
    …peace on earth…

  14. Jane

    Happy holidays, Daniel and the UBC group.
    I love getting this in my email each day – have a relaxing break, and I’ll look forward to hearing from you again in the new year!

  15. phillip

    …elizabeth a….one of the most beautiful things you’ve written….!!

  16. Julie

    What an interesting and appealing little plant!
    And happy holidays, Daniel. I look forward to seeing the photo every day, and will miss it in the interim! Keep up the excellent work.

  17. Katie McIntosh

    Thank you for another year’s beautiful photos and fascinating information. May you have a wonderful Christmas with time to take more photos for us to share in 2010.

  18. Marilyn

    Thankyou for this window on the beautiful plant world. These photos deepen my love and awareness for the wonderful planet in which we live. May you have a peaceful and happy holiday.

  19. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Thank you for these pages — I enjoy them immensely. Have a happy and restful holiday.

  20. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    . . . an interesting little plant. “Gnome plant” is a good name for it!

  21. Irma Palm

    Have a very good Holiday period. You surely bring so many nice things to us all.

  22. katemarie54

    i also want to extend my thanks to daniel for the gifts of beauty and knowledge and celebration…and to the community, joyonya!
    i sense i am so often way ‘out of my league’ with the vastness of awareness and experience here, still, i take in the teaching, i listen to the comments and as with all that live and breathe and have being, i find i belong….(wouldn’t it be lovely if the biodiversity celebration turned swords into plowshares?)

  23. beverley bowhay

    plants planet planter planner?
    breath-taking photos…thanx..bbb

  24. lisa

    What a fascinating little plant – of the Ericaceae family no less.
    Thank you for the daily images and the informative writing. It must be a lot of work to find something new to tickle our curiosity and wonder, every single day; and I have to say, you do a wonderful job.
    Have a great holiday season Daniel.

  25. cecelia

    Thank you Daniel –for the daily enchantment as well as enrichment. Happy thoughts for you and friends of this site.
    Happy Holidays to all!

  26. kcflowers

    Enjoy your time off. Peace and Happy Holidays to all. I like to image what the plant will look like from the name before I open the picture, but the plants you chose are so different from what I expect – great fun.

  27. Don Fenton

    All the best of the seasonals to everybody. Thank you, Daniel, thank you for all the photies and informative texts. And thank you to elizabeth a for her almost daily pomes: I look for them every day!

  28. Martin

    Thanks Daniel for Botany photo of the day. I will miss it until it’s back in January.
    I look forward to it every day and enjoy seeing such a great variety of photos from BC and around the world as well as the very interesting write ups.The links to other websites is also very good.
    I wish you and all that have contributed to BPotD a very happy holiday.

  29. Harpgirl

    Yours is truly a work of the heart, Daniel, and I’m glad you’re taking time to refill your energy bank. Thank you from my heart to yours for the gifts of delight you give to our e-community all year!

  30. Wendy Cutler

    Well, this seems to be the place to post a thank you to Daniel and all the UBC elves who bring us such wonderful gifts all year long, so I’m adding my thanks. I enjoy reading the comments from all you readers too.

  31. ingrid

    Thank you Daniel and all at UBC BPotD for your fascinating daily contributions for our little e-community (perhaps not so little any more!).
    May you all have a peaceful, fun and beautiful seasonal break, and I very much look forward to your return as the days are growing longer.
    I love elizabeth a’s poetry too, what an extra special one today.

  32. Don Anderson

    I want to join all your other fans who watch this site daily, to thank you for running our favourite site. Living in England, I enjoy viewing plants in their natural habitats from other parts of the world, & especially enjoy the factual information and links.
    Have a great break, and long may this site continue!

  33. Denis

    Amazing to think that’s related to the rhododendrons and heathers I have in my garden.
    Some families are tight and don’t require the examination of their respective blooms with a loupe to deterimine their relationship, while others show amazing diversity.
    Enjoy the winter break. Fortunately, there is a vast archive of past entries to explore here.
    I wonder if there isn’t a way to set up BPotD to randomly access the archive to keep interest up during periods when you are away, Daniel?
    Certainly, we can just look around ourselves, but it is nice to have the prompt to come look around.

  34. Lee

    Happy Holidays!!!! Thanks for a great year of photographs.

  35. CB

    thanks for all the great photos! i will have to look into this “year of biodiversity” – sounds interesting!

  36. Deb Lievens

    Hi Daniel, Merry Christmas and thanks for all the great posts. Knowing what BPotD means to me, it is fun to read the comments from the regulars in this post. Thought to be perfectly honest, a Holiday break fits nicely into my life. I know I’ll be ready to avidly read and view in January. And once again, you’ve come up with a fascinating, new-to-me plant. Love those mycoheterotrophs.

  37. surebb

    first come, cool job. But why stop here?

  38. surebb

    well. did not read carefully just now…
    Happy New Year!

  39. elizabeth a airhart

    happy new year happy new year happy new year

  40. maryo

    I want to add my thanks and best wishes for a peaceful, healthy, & abundant New Year to Daniel, the BPOD & all who visit this wonderful space!

  41. SoapySophia

    While looking at previous entries, I remembered the abstract pictures. Will you please consider doing something like that again? Those were really interesting and creative, not that the realistic ones aren’t!
    Just wondering.
    Hope you all had Merry Christmases and Happy New Years!

  42. Daniel Mosquin

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, all.
    Sophia, re: the abstract photographs — unfortunately, there were a few strong negative reactions to that series. I had considered doing it again for these past two weeks, but since my Internet access would be poor, I decided I wouldn’t have the ability to address any anticipated negative comments, so left it aside.
    However, that series will make a return in December 2010, as part of our BPotDs for the International Year of Biodiversity — our December theme will be Biodiversity and Inspiration.

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