I love it when I spot a parasitic plant. There was the time I spotted Ghost Pipes in Virginia:
And then found Bear Corn as well:
Today I’m walking along the River Lemon when I spot these:
They are Toothwort, Lathraea squamaria. They are entirely white and have no chlorophyl at all. They extend underground and attach to the roots of trees. This species parasitises Hazel and Alder trees and occasionally Beech. One of the things I love about it is that it secretes water from the scales which would have been the leaves. This moistens and softens the ground around it
It’s probably what encourages germination of its seeds, although I can’t find mentions of its function in the literature.
I like the idea of a plant which has become its own watering can, tapping into a tree for its water supply and watering its own seeds. Don’t you?