Bear Corn

Nature Academy

We all know that plants use the sun, air and water to make their own food. Well, most plants at least do this. Some just get others to do it for them.

Bear corn (Conopholis americana) is one of these. Lacking chlorophyll, it gets its energy by parasitizing the roots of either beech or oak trees. Although this plant is known by other names, like American cancer-root or squawroot, it is called bear corn because of its striking resemblance to an ear of corn. Sadly, there is no word on if bears enjoy eating it.

bear corn

This group was found growing around a large red oak at Newberry Wildlife Sanctuary. Keep an eye out for beech and oak trees while hiking the trails and you may see this cool plant, too!

Garrett Dienno, Seasonal Aquatic Resource Technician