Herbs & Plants

Geocaulon lividum

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Botanical Name : Geocaulon lividum
Family : Santalaceae – Sandalwood family
Genus: Geocaulon Fernald – false toadflax
Species: Geocaulon lividum (Richardson) Fernald – false toadflax
Kingdom :Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Santalales

Common Names:Timberberry, Northern Commandra, Dogberry, False Toadflax

Habitat : Geocaulon lividum grows in Newfoundland to Alaska south to northern Washington, northern Idaho, northwest Montana, New England, New York, and northern portions of the Great Lakes States. It grows on  moss or damp humus.

Geocaulon lividum is a perennial, hemiparasitic forb.  It has creeping rhizomes, located in the humus layer of the soil.  The leafy stems are 4 to 12 inches (10-30 cm) tall.  The inflorescence is a cymule with two to three green or purple flowers.  The central flower is perfect, but the others have stamens only.  The fruit is a one-seeded, orange drupe


Geocaulon lividum   is a root parasite that forms haustoria (lateral outgrowths of the root) which connect it to a host’s roots or rhizomes. The haustoria are white when young but become brown with age.  They have been described in detail.  Some host genera include spruce (Picea spp.), pine (Pinus spp.), birch (Betula spp.), willow (Salix spp.), alder
(Alnus spp.), and twinflower (Linnaea spp.).  A more complete list of host genera is available .

Geocaulon lividum  is difficult to distinguish from low sweet blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) varieties, and from bog blueberry (V.  uliginosum var. alpinum) .  It also closely resembles bastard toadflax (Comandra umbellata)
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The plant might be a root parasite . See the plants native habitat for ideas on its cultivation needs.

Propagation :
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe if this is possible, otherwise in spring in a greenhouse. The plant might be a root parasite, further research is required. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses: Fruits  are  eaten as berries.

Medicinal Uses:
Poultice;  Purgative.

A decoction of the chewed leaves and bark has been used as a purgative. A poultice of the chewed leaves and bark has been applied to wounds.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.



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