Hemitomes is a monotypic genus of plants containing the single species Hemitomes congestum, which is known as gnome plant and cone plant. This rare and unusual plant is native to the west coast of North America from British Columbia to California, where it grows in dense, dark forests such as the redwood forests of the region. This is small, fleshy, stemless perennial plant forming lumps in the leaf litter. It is white, yellowish, or reddish-pink in color. Little is known about the life cycle of the plant due to its rarity, but it probably obtains its nutrients by parasitizing fungi, so it lacks the green of chlorophyll. It grows from a rhizome with fragile roots and its form is covered in sparse scales which are the rudimentary leaves. An inflorescence emerges on a thick stalk from the soil bearing solitary to densely bunched flowers. The flowers have ragged yellowish or pinkish petals and contain hairs and large rounded yellow stigmas. The fruit is a fleshy white berry.
- Tucker, G.C. 2009. Hemitomes congestum. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 8. New York and Oxford.
- Botanical Society of America: Parasitic Plants
- Hemitomes congestum at the Encyclopedia of Life
- Hemitomes congestum at the US Forest Service
- Hemitomes congestum at the online Flora of North America
- Hemitomes congestum photos at CalPhotos by the University of California, Berkeley
- Hemitomes congestum at the online Jepson Manual - Vascular Plants of California (1993)
- Hemitomes congestum USDA Plants Profile
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