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CommentsFrom a distance, this plant looks like it is dead, even when it is in bloom, resembling an elongated skeletal hand that has poked up from the ground. When examined up-close, however, it is an interesting plant with beautiful cream and purple-striped flowers and similarly colored stems. Beechdrops is a member of a small group of parasitic plants in the Broomrape family (Orobanchaceae). None of these species are very common in Illinois, and they should be protected in the areas where they occur. Other species in this family tend to be more stout and less branched than Beechdrops; they also produce larger flowers with similar tubular corollas (exceeding ½" in length). These species don't compete directly with Beechdrops because they are parasitic on the roots of plants other than American Beech; typical hosts are oak trees and various members of the Aster family.