Comandra umbellata ssp umbellata

Bastard Toadflax

Comandra umbellata ssp. umbellata plant

Family - Santalaceae

Stems - To +30cm tall, simple to branching, erect, glabrous, herbaceous, from underground rhizomes.

Comandra umbellata ssp. umbellata stem

Leaves - Alternate, sessile or on very short petiole to -1mm, entire, glabrous or glaucous, oblong-elliptic to narrowly obovate, to -1cm broad, +3cm long.

Inflorescence - Loose, paniculate, terminal clusters of 4-6 flowered cymules. Pedicels 1-4mm long, glabrous.

Comandra umbellata ssp. umbellata inflorescence

Flowers - Apetalous. Calyx tube green, to 3mm long, campanulate, glabrous, with 4-5 lobes. Lobes to 2mm long, white, glabrous externally, sparse pubescent internally. Stamens 5, opposite the calyx lobes. Filaments to -1mm long, glabrous. Anthers yellow. Style glabrous, 2.5mm long.

Comandra umbellata ssp. umbellata flowerFlower close-up.

Flowering - April - July.

Habitat - Open woods, slopes, glades, ridges, prairies, bluffs.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This little plant is parasitic on neighboring plants by means of its rhizomes. The rhizomes are tan, thin, and fairly long.
The plant can be found in dry rocky areas of the habitats mentioned above. It ranges throughout the state except in a few counties of the bootheel.
A common synonym is C. umbellata (L.) Nutt.

Photographs taken at Whetstone Conservation Area, Callaway County, MO., 4-26-04.