American Chaffseed (Schwalbea americana)

Photograph of the American Chaffseed


U.S. Status
Endangered, Listed 9/29/1992
American chaffseed is a flowering, perennial root-parasite 1 to 2 feet tall.
Life History
Although parasitic on the roots of a large number of trees, such as sweet-gum, bald cypress, hackberry, and various oaks and pines, American chaffseed is not tolerant of deep shade and is usually found along the margins of forest or woodlands where sufficient light is available.
It grows in grass-sedge communities in acid sandy soils in moist pine woodlands with open structure maintained by periodic wildfire or by fluctuating water tables.
The status of American chaffseed in Texas is currently a mystery. Although reported to occur in east Texas, there are no voucher specimens in any of the major Texas herbaria, and no extant populations are known. The plant is found from New England south to Florida, west to Kentucky, Louisiana, and perhaps Texas.