Herbs & Plants

Pterospora andromedea

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Botanical Name : Pterospora andromedea
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Monotropoideae
Genus: Pterospora
Species:P. andromedea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Monotropa procera Torr.

Common Name: Woodland Pinedrops, Giant pinedrops
Other common names: Giant birds nest, Albany beechdrops

Habitat:Pterospora andromedea is native to North America. It grows from a subterranean truffle that is associated with a good sized Pinus strobus. Dry to mesic forested slopes and ridges.

State distribution: Forty three occurrences of this species have been reported from Michigan, 22 of which are post1978 records. The majority of these are associated with forested dune communities ranging from Ottawa to Keeweenaw County, with concentrations in Keeweenaw, Emmet, and Leelanau counties. Additional occurrences are widely scattered from Ottawa and St. Clair counties in southern Lower Michigan and from Drummond Island to Ontonagon County in the western Upper Peninsula. All occurrences were reported in low numbers ranging from a single individual to 11 stems, or in many cases simply.

Pterospora andromedea is a perinnial plant. It has lack of chlorophyll and has one to several simple, erect stems, from 3-10 dm tall, bearing numerous scale-like leaves and a terminal raceme of numerous nodding flowers. The approx. 6-7 mm long , bell-shaped corolla is white while the sepals and vegetative parts of the plant are reddish to maroon. The stem and sepals are glandular-hairy giving the plant a clammy-sticky feel. The similar, but more widespread and common species Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe) and M. hypopithys (pinesap), also lack chlorophyll, but are typically one half the size of Pterospora or smaller. In addition, the flowers of both Indian pipe and pinesap become erect in fruit, unlike the strongly nodding fruits of Pterospora. Indian pipe also differs in bearing only a single large flower on each stem....CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

Status: State threatened
Edible Uses: Stems – raw or cooked. They can be roasted or baked under the fire ‘like mushrooms’.

Medicinal Uses: The stems and berries are astringent, disinfectant and haemostatic. A cold infusion of the ground stems and berries has been used in the treatment of lung haemorrhages and nose bleeds. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of gonorrhoea.

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


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