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The Snowplant

A fairly common site in the Tahoe landscape as the snow melts is the Snowplant (Sarcodes snaguinea), a member of the Wintergreen family. This strange asparagus-like plant does not photo-synthesize, but receives its nourishment from parasitizing the roots of neighboring plants and other decaying organic matter. It is protected by California law and there are heavy fines for tampering with the Snowplant due to its extreme beauty and rarity (it is found only in the Yellow Pine and Red Fir forests of California and southern Oregon).

Photo by Tim Ziesloft

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