E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Hemitomes congestum A. Gray
gnome-plant (coneplant; cone-plant)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)
(Previously in Monotropaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Rod Innes  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #13945)

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Distribution of Hemitomes congestum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a fleshy, short rhizome; parasites on mycorrhizal fungi associated with trees; "stems" erect, simple, 3-15 cm tall, stout, waxy, glabrous; pinkish when fresh, drying to brownish; not persistent after seed dispersal; without chlorophyll.
Scale-like, to 2 cm long, partly overlapping like shingles, thin, oval to oblong, margins irregular and fringed with hairs.
Inflorescence a terminal, short, head-like, compressed spike; calyces and corollas similar in texture and colour; about equal in length, pinkish when fresh, drying to brownish; corollas tubular bell-shaped, 12-20 mm long, often unequally lobed, lobes 4 (5), densely hairy inside; sepals (2) 4, oblong, 12-18 mm long, lateral 2 often folded, clasping corolla; filaments densely hairy; anthers 1-2 mm long, unawned.
Berry-like capsules, egg-shaped, to 1 cm long, hairy.
Stem and leaves can be considered part of the inflorescence.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic forests in the lowland and montane zone; infrequent in SW, rare in WC and SE BC; S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Hemitomes congestum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 20 401 1070
Slope Gradient (%) 0 28 90
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 233 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 3 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(32), ICH(2), MH(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American parasite distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in cool temperate and cool mesothermal climates on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-medium soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Sporadic in the mossy understory of coniferous forests on water-shedding sites. Characteristic of moist coniferous forests.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Newberrya congesta Torr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References