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Taxon  Report  
Allotropa virgata  Torr. & A. Gray
Candystriped allotropa,   Sugar stick,   Sugarstick
Allotropa virgata is a perennial herb (mycoparasitic) that is native to California, and also found elsewhere in western North America.
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Bloom Period
Genus: Allotropa
Family: Ericaceae  
Category: angiosperm  
PLANTS group:Dicot
Jepson eFlora section: eudicot

Communities: Douglas-Fir Forest, Yellow Pine Forest, Red Fir Forest, Lodgepole Forest, Subalpine Forest, Mixed Evergreen Forest
Name Status:
Accepted by JEF + PLANTS

Information about  Allotropa virgata from other sources
Nursery availability from CNPLX
Commercial availability unknown.
Jepson eFlora


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[Wikipedia] Range, Ecology, Description, Etymology: Allotropa virgata is in the family Ericaceae and is the only species of the genus Allotropa. It is a perennial plant that gets its common names from the distinct white and red or maroon stripes along its erect peduncle. A. virgata are nongreen as they lack chlorophyll, instead obtaining nutrition from neighboring green plants through a fungal intermediate. Range Allotropa virgata was first collected by the Wilkes Expedition in the Cascade Mountains of Washington in the late 1800s.[1] It is found in the oak, coniferous and hardwood forests of the Pacific Northwest. It grows from 75 to 3000 meters in elevation in the High Sierra Nevada, High Cascade Range and up through British Columbia. Ecology Allotropa virgata feeds primarily on matsutake mushroom (Tricholoma matsutake) mycelium,[2] and also possibly that of the similar Tricholoma magnivelare.[3] Allotropa virgata was listed as a 'sensitive' species in 1998.[1] It is a clonal species that spreads through its extensive lateral root system, to lengths up to 4 feet and 2 feet deep. Because it spreads underground through buds on the lateral roots, it is able to survive ground fires if the host tree of its fungal hosts are not killed as well. Allotropa virgata is pollinated by bumblebees, sweat bees, and some Lepidoptera species.[1] Description Allotropa virgata has an underground stem (rhizome) with brittle roots. The scale-like leaves are along the striped peduncle with a raceme-like inflorescence. The peduncle is persistent after the seeds have been dispersed and tends to turn brown. The bracts of the inflorescence are less than 3 cm and the pedicels are not recurved. The stems stand up to 40 centimeters tall. Standing dead stems, which darken to a reddish-brown with no white, from prior years' growth are often present. The individual flowers generally do not have sepals but if they do, have 2 to 4. Often the petals of the flower are incorrectly considered sepals. The corolla has 5 white petals in a cup shape, all petals are free and concave. From the corolla there are 10 protruding stamens, maroon in color, with dehiscent anthers. The superior ovary has 5 chambers with a style under 2 mm and a disk-like stigma. The short nectary is disk-like as well with 10 lobes. Etymology Allotropa is derived from Greek and means 'different nourishment' (allo 'different', 'other'; tropus 'nourishment').[4] (link added by Mary Ann Machi)

Suggested Citation
Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation, with data contributed by public and private institutions and individuals. [web application]. 2024. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available: https://www.calflora.org/   (Accessed: 07/12/2024).