Northern Groundcone

Northern Groundcone Plant Information


Northern Groundcone grows in the following 1 states:

Alaska

Boschniakia rossica, commonly known as the northern groundcone, is a holoparasitic plant that lives in the northern latitudes of the northern hemisphere.In the Pacific Northwest Temperate Rainforest, it does not grow south of Prince of Wales Island, beyond that boundary is the Vancouver groundcone habitat. It does not contain chlorophyll, so it must be parasitic to obtain nutrients. It specializes on Alnus species, but can parasitize off of other trees and shrubs such as on Betula (birch), Salix (willow), Vaccinium (blueberry), Picea (spruce), and Chamaedaphne (leatherleaf shrub). This organism is likely to be found at mid elevations alongside rivers and streams, where moisture is abundant. This species propagates itself through water flow. In some places bears are known to have eaten the starchy roots, or tubers, of this plant.

B. rossica grows between 6-12 inches, with two or three stems per individual. It has tall slender stalks. The roots grow horizontally from a main bulbous mass. It can vary from very dark maroon to reddish brown in color. This is a perennial plant, and flowers every summer. It can produce up to 300,000 seeds. B. rossica very much looks like a pine cone growing up out of the ground.
In China, B.rossica is considered a Traditional Chinese medicine. In the Changbai Nature Reserve, it is considered a protected and endangered species. B.rossica has many traditional applications including: cleansing and nourishing the kidneys in tonic form, cures impotence in men, strengthens the heart, used in invigorating tonics, eases constipation, is used on skin rashes, it has anti-aging effects, used in conjunction with other herbs to increase memory retention. In some First Nations and Native American cultures the whole plant is dried, ground, and used as a topical application, and sometimes smoked in a pipe.
Genetic analyses have been conducted on B.rossica to determine its phylogeny. There are many ways to phylogenetically classify B.rossica, but scientists from Ohio State University have determined that the family Orobanchaceae is estimated to have originated about 52.2 million years ago. The strongest bootstrap support is for terminal clades. The most parsimonious tree of Boschniakia forms a grade with Conopholis and Epifagus as well as other species of Orobanche. In this tree, Lindenbergia and Schwalbea are sister taxa. These are still hypotheses, and further research is being conducted.
There are two GenBank numbers referring to Boschniakia rossica: AY911214, and rps2;ITS: DQ403779; AY911214.

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