Squawroot (Conopholis americana) is an odd little Smoky Mountains wildflower that looks mostly like a corncob. You have to get down to the ground and look very closely to see the tiny flowers. There is nothing green here, no leaves, for Squawroot is actually a parasite that feeds off the roots of oak trees. It is a member of the Broomrape family, which are all parasitic. Squawroot is enjoyed by bears, and also was gathered as food by the Cherokees, giving this unusual wildflower its name.
The photo above was taken along the Kanati Fork Trail in late April, where there were dozens of Squawroot popping out of the ground. The specimen below was found on the Chestnut Top Trail, which is one of the premier wildflower trails in April.
Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.