Monotropsis odorata Schwein. ex Ell.

Locations ofMonotropsis odorata Schwein. ex Ell. in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Monotropsis odorata Schwein. ex Ell.
Common Name
Sweet Pinesap
Monotropsis odorata Schwein. ex Ell. var. odorata; Monotropsis odorata Schwein. ex Ell. var. lehmaniae (Burnham) H.E. Ahles
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Monotropsis odorata Schwein. ex Ell.
Sweet pinesap is a fairly cryptic vascular plant that 1) blends in with the leaf litter it grows among (or under); 2) emerges and flowers very early; and 3) mostly occupies highly acidic, species-poor habitats that are of limited interest to botanists, especially in the early spring. The combination of these factors makes it difficult to detect, and suggests that it may be more widespread than records indicate. However, the plants are very fragrant, and people with a keen sense of smell can often detect a population from a considerable distance.

An MS study by Jeffrey Rose at Ohio State demonstrated conclusively that Monotropsis odorata var. lehmaniae represents plants of M. odorata with immature inflorescences that appear in the fall and undergo development over the winter before flowering in the spring. See Rose (2012, M.S. thesis, Ohio State University) and Rose and Freudenstein (2014, Syst. Bot. 39: 578-593).
Mesic to dry upland forests; typically in acidic humus under oaks, pines, or ericaceous shrubs (especially Kalmia latifolia) but occasionally in more base-rich soils. Infrequent to rare throughout.
Native Status

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