The inside of a snow plant flower. When the flower is cut
open, the large white ovary, which will contain seeds when
it mature, appears. The stamens, tan-color, contain pollen;
and the sticky bright red surfaces of the stigma, which
collects pollen, can easily be seen.
A flower of the snow plant, cut open, reveals the stamens
(yellow-brown) just opening to release pollen.
The stamens of this flower have finished shedding their
pollen. The pollen escapes through the holes in the tips
of the stamens. Does this flower look upside down? Remember,
the flowers of the snow plant point downwards once they
open. Stamens that open by holes instead of slits are often
thought to release pollen when they shake. The vibrations
of a visiting insect may cause such shaking.
Part of a snow plant, Sarcodes, showing fruits
developing. The fruits are colorful and fleshy at this stage,
and might think that some fruit-eating animal might be attracted
to them. However, when they are mature, the fruits of the
snow plant are dry and shed fruits through slits in the
A cross-section of a developing fruit of the snow plant.
The seds are already brown, their color at maturity. The
center of the fruit, however, is still white and fleshy.
Seeds of the snow plant, greatly enlarged. They have rough
surfaces. Nobody knows how they are dispersed from one place
to another. In order to grow, they must become buried in
the leaf litter of a conifer forest. Probably they need
to contact particular fungi in order to germinate. The geographical
range of the snow plant is probably limited by the extent
of the conifers and the fungi that the snow plant depends