Hemitomes is a monotypic genus of monotropoids in the eudicotic family Ericaceae, containing only the parasitic plant Hemitomes congestum. These plants contain no chlorophyll, and receive all of their nutrients via a mycorrhizal relationship which taps nutrients from nearby conifers. They grow in deep shade and are uncommon to rare. They are similar to Pityopus californicus (Pinefoot) and Pleuricospora fimbriolata (Fringed Pinesap) but the petals of Gnome Plant are connate or connected for at least half their length, whereas in the other two the petals are split all the way to their base.
Gnome Plant is a very short plant (hence the name) seldom reaching more than 75mm tall. It has a thick stalk, intensely hairy petals, and a yellow corolla. It blooms from June to August, depending on elevation.
Size– Seldom more than 75mm tall
Habitat– Damp, deeply shaded, mature mixed and coniferous forests up to 7000’ elevation
Range– Western parts of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia. Native.
Season– Blooms June to August
Identification– Look for petals connected for at least half their length. Similar species have petals split to the base.