“Leafless” Pyrola: are they distinct species?

There are a few species of Pyrola that appear to have 'lost' their leaves! Perhaps the best known example of this condition is Pyrola aphylla Sm.. Plants of this species have highly reduced, apetiolate leaves arranged in basal rosettes just where you'd expect them to be-- at the base of each inflorescence!You might be thinking …

Advertisements

Pyrola aphylla

Pyrola aphylla is a widespread species in western North America, uncommon in the Rocky Mountains, but relatively abundant in mountains closer to the Pacific Ocean. In southern California, this species often produces very pink flowers and stems. In this image you can see some of the anthers emerging from the corolla as it opens. In …

Transverse and Peninsular Ranges

Much of southern California is arid, with seasonal monsoonal rain. Pockets of relatively mesic habitat occur in the mountain ranges adjacent arid lowlands. Montane forests trap ocean fog or monsoonal precipitation, providing conditions suitable for northern temperate plants such as Pyrola dentata and P. aphylla. Although less common, P. picta also occurs in southern California, …