Pale ComandraComandra umbellata (L.) Nutt.
These perennial plants spread by rhizomes. They obtain some of their nutrients by sending out underground suckers that attach to the roots of other plants, including trees and shrubs, and siphoning off some of the sap. Their flowers have no noticeable scent, but provide a nectar source for butterflies, flies, bees and beetles, some of which act as pollinators. Small mammals, such as mice, likely eat the fruits, helping distribute the seeds.
Canadian Rarity Status:
Not rare. Listed as “sensitive” in British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, and “may be at risk” in Yukon and Nova Scotia.
Several clustered stems (1-7) grow 5-50 cm tall. The alternate, oval-shaped leaves have smooth edges, and short to no stalks. Small, shallow, tube-shaped flowers occur in compact, flattened clusters of 12 or more. Each one has five white, flared sepals with light green or rose accents, and several yellow stamens. Petals are absent. Fruits are single-seeded and berry-like.
Seeds and/or plants may be available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. These plants are a good addition to a dry prairie garden.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Fescue Prairie
- Mixed Grass Prairie
- Tall Grass Prairie
- Open Woodlands
- Full Sun
- Part Shade
- Andrenid Bees, Miner/Digger Bees (Andrenidae)
- Ants (Formicidae)
- Blow Flies (Calliphoridae)
- Bumble, Honey, and other Bees (Apidae (Subfamily Apinae))
- Flesh Flies (Sarcophagidae)
- Flower Flies (Syrphidae)
- Gossamer-winged Butterflies (Lycaenidae)
- Grass Flies (Chloropidae)
- Leafcutter and Mason Bees (Megachilidae)
- Marsh Flies (Sciomyzidae)
- Muscid Flies (Muscidae)
- Parasitic Flies (Tachinidae)
- Root Maggot Flies (Anthomyiidae)
- Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae)
- Soldier Flies (Stratiomyidae)
- Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilionidae)
- Sweat Bees, Halictid Bees and other Bees (Halictidae)