New Mexico Wildflowers: Heath Family



Flowers are organized alphabetically by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.

Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys)

Pinesaps neither need nor have chlorophyll, being parasites. They live underground and steal nutrition from certain soil fungi which, in turn, maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with tree roots. In the summer, pinesaps push up all-red flower shoots that are easy to spot on the forest floor. As I watched in August 2021, a wild bee visited a pinesap shoot, so apparently their reproductive strategy is more conventional than their strategy for obtaining energy. 


If you look carefully at the top of the flower stalk in my August 2023 closeup, you'll see what I think is a male mosquito drawing sustenance from the stalk.


Sidebells (Orthilia secunda)

Look for single flower stalks with tiny greenish-white flowers all nodding from one side of the stalk. Also, notice how far the pistils emerge from the flowers. The leaves occur in basal clusters and last into the winter.


Green-Flower Wintergreen (Pyrola chlorantha)

The leaves for this species aren't the big, light green, lance-shaped leaves at the base of the flower stalk but the small, dark green, round leaves. I added red arrows so you can see which leaves actually belong to the plant.