Sweet Pinesap, Monotropsis odorata
Photograph by R.H. Wiegand
The Sweet Pinesap, Monotropsis odorata, is not a photosynthetic plant, meaning it does not produce its own food. The plant is a saprophyte, deriving its nutrients from soil fungi. It has no chlorophyll. The preferred habitat of this perennial dicot is sandy, dry, old forests.
Historically, this plant was known from seven sites in Maryland. Currently, the only known extant population is in Calvert County. The flowers of the Sweet Pinesap can generally be seen from mid-February through late April.
The feature which has earned this species its name is its uncommonly strong fragrance. The cinnamon-like scent released by Sweet Pinesap is so strong that it can be used to help locate the plant, which is only a few inches tall and usually hidden under fallen leaves. With its several small pinkish blossoms drooping from the top of a short stem, this showy plant is an interesting contrast to the usually drab saprophytes and parasitic plants.
The Sweet Pinesap is an Endangered Species in the State of Maryland.
Plants and Wildlife
- Natural Heritage Program
- Guide to Marylandís Natural Areas
- Maryland Natural Areas News
- Maryland Wildlife Lists
- Rare, Threatened & Endangered Species
- Rare, Threatened & Endangered Plants
- Rare, Threatened & Endangered Animals
- Baltimore Checkerspot Recovery Team
- Natural Plant Communities
- Invasive and Exotic Species
- 2015 Maryland Statewide Action Plan Revision
- Game Mammals
- Game Birds
- Wildlife Problems?
- Digital Data & Products
- Environmental Review
- Birding in Maryland
- The Migratory Bird Treaty Act
- Maryland Naturalist Organizations
- Maryland Master Naturalist Training
- Contact Us