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Downy Yellow False Foxglove
Aureolaria virginica

There are a lot of different foxgloves out there, even yellow colored ones – so hopefully I got this identification correct.

What I can tell you is one really cool thing about a yellow false foxglove. They attach to oak tree roots via “haustoria” (modified roots that penetrate the host’s tissues). It makes me think of some alien thing, where this plant roots are puncturing and probing into the poor oak tree… Hence their alternate name “oak leach.” This is why this plant is also hemiparasitic, which means it obtains some nutrients from other plants. However this false foxglove does have chlorophyll and perform photosynthesis, unlike for example, pinesap.

I was unable to find out why these are called false foxgloves in comparison to not-false foxgloves, so if you know, please share in the comments below!

Alternate Names: Downy Oak Leach
Size: 2'-4' tall
Family: 	Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)
Habitat: Dry oak dominated forests.
Identification:  This forb is covered in tiny hairs, with ovate to lanceolate leaves around 2.5-6" long. The lower base leaves sometimes have lobes or teeth. Flowers are on little pedicles and have five petals that are fused onto a corolla tube, which is smooth on the outside. The fruit is a 1-1.5 centimeter long dry ovoid capsule that splits open when ripe. Adapted from Wikipedia
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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