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Looks Like Fungus, But Its Not, Gallery
Orobanchaceae - Broomrape family
Mexican Cancer Root (Mexican Squawroot) Conopholis mexicana (C. alpina var. mexicana)
Plant is about 1" wide when emerging from the soil and widens as it "opens up". Grows to about 12" tall. The first photo shows plants emerging from the soil. The second shows flowers.
These plants look like fungus but actually have flowers tucked into their scaly stalk. They are parasitic and are referred to as "fungus flowers". They grow from the roots of other plants. Botanists call them mycotrophic meaning "fungus nutrition".
Photos taken by Mike Carrington in the Davis Mountains of Jeff Davis County, Texas, April 2005
(Native of Texas)