Ericaceae (formerly Monotropaceae)
posted 04/03/14 - Hey, here's something different! I vaguely remember always seeing these coming up out of the snow back when I used to ski twenty years ago. They made me think of Snow White's red lips. The reported bloom time is May - July, even from local Yosemite Hikes site. Hmm? I guess these are early? Maybe plant people generally aren't out looking for blooms when there's enough snow on the ground for skiing? In the week since I took these pictures, it snowed quite a bit in the area. These were the only ones I found next to a slow moving side creek. The middle picture is a snow plant seed stalk that was laying nearby. I also spotted plenty of upright seed stalks, but I was mistaken and they ended up being the similarly odd-looking pine drops (Pterospora andromedea). I keep wanting to call these snow drops, but that's not correct. Snow plant, snow plant. For more information on this flaming red parasitic plant, the USDA Forest Service and Botanical Society of America have good pages.