Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Vancouver Groundcone - Boschniakia hookeri

Family: Orobanchaceae (Broom-rape family) [E-flora]

Root Facial Steam Ingredient Coughs


General Up to 5 inches tall. [WildPNW] Perennial. [PFAF] "yellow to red or purple, 8-12 cm tall."[IFBC] [E-flora]
Flowers "Inflorescence of numerous flowers in dense spikes".[IFBC] [E-flora] "flowers 1-1.5 cm.long;" [HNW] "petals formed into 2 unequal lips.... each flower with a bract under it." [PCBC] "largest bracts usually less than 1 cm wide, pointed at the tip; anthers hairy only at their bases;" [PWOBC]
Fruits Capsules. Seeds numerous, minute.[IFBC] [E-flora] to 1.5 cm long; [PCBC]
Leaves "Scale-like (like the scales on a conifer's cone), broad, overlapping." [PCBC] "Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves scaly-bracteate, alternate".[IFBC] [E-flora]
Root "a coarse fleshy root".[IFBC] [E-flora] It "has a round, corm-like rootstock". [Turner&Kuhnlein]
Habitat "Parasitic on Gaultheria shallon in moist to mesic forests in the lowland zone".[IFBC] [E-flora] "...and probably [on] other members of the heather family, such as kinnickinnick". [PCBC] "B. hookeri may be found on salal and huckleberries". [Wiki]
Range "locally frequent on S Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, rare on the Queen Charlotte Islands and SW mainland".[IFBC] [E-flora] "widespread in Washington and British Columbia but rare in California. [WildPNW]
Ecological Indicator "A shade-tolerant/intolerant...Pacific North American parasite. Occurs... on nitrogen-poor soils.... Sparse in open-canopy, Douglas-fir forests on water-shedding sites.... An oxylophytic species characteristic of Mor humus forms.(IPBC)" [E-flora]
Similar Species "Boschniakia strobilacea, which ranges from southern Oregon to California, is parasitic on Arctostaphylos and Arbutus." [Schofield] "the difference in host and the combination of characters appear stable enough to separate our species from the stouter form found in southern Oregon and California, Boschniakia strohilacea Gray, which is parasitic on other members of Ericaceae." [HNW]
Notes "The groundcone produces haustoria which penetrate the roots of its host and provide it with water and nutrients." [Wiki]

Food Use

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses


"We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It requires a well-drained soil and should succeed in sun or shade. A fully parasitic plant lacking in chlorophyll, it is entirely dependant upon its host plant for obtaining nutrient[200]. According to [60], the correct name for this species is Boschniakia hookeri." [PFAF]


"Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in a pot containing a host plant. The seed is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe if this is possible. It might also be possible to sow the seed in situ around a host plant." [PFAF]

Boschniakia Sp. - Groundcones

"Boschniakia is a small genus of three species of parasitic plant in the broomrape family. They are known commonly as groundcones and they are native to western North America and extreme northeastern Asia." [Wiki-2]

Local Species;

  1. Boschniakia hookeri - Vancouver groundcone [PCBC][TSFTK][E-flora]


Page last modified on Thursday, October 20, 2022 2:31 AM