Some know it as the “snow flower,” a name ubiquitous enough among plants that thrive in cold. But what sets this one apart is not only its parasitism (it feeds on the symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi around tree roots, rather than supporting itself with photosynthesis), but the fact that it creates a stunning—if morbid—contrast as it pushes itself up from the clean white snow.
Despite the name, however, it’s not a true winter plant. The only time it matches its moniker is when its spring blooms meet with unmelted snow. For this reason, it’s best to catch it at high elevations in the northwest U.S. Oregon, for example. —MN