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Ghost (or corpse) plant, Monotropa uniflora, is a parasitic plant that contains no chlorophyll so it can't generate energy from sunlight. It is a mycoheterotroph, and so is the host of certain species of mycorrhizal fungi.

Most woodland wildflowers are done blooming for the year but this delightful Indian pipe plant is still in fine flowering form! Most Indian pipe plants are pure white and give rise to the common name "ghost plant". This particular plant has some pretty pink pigmentation which was probably picked up from minerals in the surrounding soil. Indian pipe is a flowering plant just like a rose but it lacks chlorophyll and relies on help from nearby fungi for its fuel that the roots tap into.

This pretty little Indian pipe plant is one of my favorite late-summer/fall wildflowers to find out in rich forest habitats. Since these plants contain no chlorophyll, they rely on nearby fungi for their fuel source - tapping into a mushroom mycelium and stealing small amounts of food. This particular Indian pipe was almost certainly associating with golden chanterelle mushrooms that themselves are attached to giant bur oak trees in a symbotic relationship. I enjoyed feasting on a few of those golden chanterelles too.

Monotropa uniflora

A vascular plant commonly called "Indian pipe". The scientific name is "Monotropa uniflora". It does not have chlorophyll and cannot use sunlight to make its own food like most vascular plants do; instead it's saprophytic and lives off of decaying wood much like mushrooms.


id: fungi_indian_pipe_078A1276_hdr

Indian Pipe

Monotropa uniflora

Monotropa uniflora


I took a while but after rummaging through my archives I finally found a decent capture of this translucent flower

Indian pipe is just beginning to bloom around here. Also known as the ghost flower, the plant produces no chlorophyll and so taps into the mycelium of surrounding Russula mushrooms. I'll bet you really want to see one of those red Russulas since I've mentioned them so often lately. Soon. These plants look waxy and rather cold and clammy, hence yet another local name - corpse flower.

All by themselves in the deep dark forest.


Western Maryland

Nice group of Monotropa uniflora, found along the Middle Fork Connector Trail.


Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Nat'l Forest, WA

This remarkable wildflower lacks chlorophyll and gets its food from a fungal mycelium mat, most likely a Russula mushroom. That mushroom's mycelium is tied into the roots of a majestic old oak tree which powers all three partners. This little trio was flowering through a fish's skeleton, likely the leftovers from a bald eagle's lunch once upon a time. Isn't nature neat?

You might be surprised, but this is not a flower – it’s a fungi, monotropa uniflora. One of its common names is Indian pipe. Wikipedia says it is quite rare; I’ve seen it in Ontario forests before several times – but never such a beautiful specimen.


From the “Ontario’s Old Growth Forests” book by Michael Henry and Peter Quinby: Indian pipe, one of the most misunderstood of our forest floor plants, establishes relationship with the forest mycorrhizae promising a share of the energy it captures from the sun in exchange for nutrients. Instead, it never photosynthesize – it simply steals nutrients from the trees and plants around it using fungal threads as conduits.


In case you are wondering, I have done quite a lot of postprocessing - but mostly on the background, trying to preserve the way the actual “flower” looked.

This fantastic little woodland flower only grows in pristine forest glades where fairies roam. Also known as the ghost flower or ice plant, prehistoric people used it to sooth their nerves and also as a sedative, though they were then said to have wild vivid erotic dreams. Hmm...

Monotropa uniflora, found along the west end of the May Creek Trail.


May Creek Park, Newcastle, WA

These were popping up all over the place, The flowers blacken as they age. Since the flowers usually droop, it takes some gymnastics to photograph the interior. These plants have no chlorophyll, so are dependent on fungi for their carbon. Which the fungi get from green plants.

Monotropa uniflora

Ghost Pipe(Monotropa uniflora) and rhododendron petals stand out against the wet leaf litter. Secret Falls Trail, Nantahala National Forest.


Pentax K-1

SMC Pentax 1:1.8 55mm

Iridient Developer

(Monotropa uniflora). Deep East Texas.


An interesting plant that lacks chlorophyll and obtains its nutrients from the mycorrhizal fungi of certain tree roots, a form of parasitism known as mycoheterotrophy.

Indian pipe, monotropa uniflora, looks like a type of fungus, but this strange, uncommon plant is a wildflower, found in similar habitats to fungi; the cool, moist woodland areas. The pendant, bell-shaped flowers have between 3 and 8 petals, and around 10 orange anthers; they grow singly at the tip of short, white, waxy stems which have no true leaves, just small brownish scales at widely-spaced intervals. Flowers are usually pure white but occasionally have a pink or red tint.

Found in Itasca, Minnesota.

Indian-pipe is a saprophytic denizen of moist, temperate woodlands. Lacking chlorophyll to harness the power of the sun, this plant obtains its food and nutrients from decaying material in the soil.

I returned to the Ghost Plants the other day and very carefully, gently bent back one to see the bloom itself...although they look fragile, they are rather rubbery and had enough flex that allowed a quick look without harming it...then it resumed its face down position!

Monotropa uniflora


The flower petals have dropped and the blooms are well past their "best use date".


Lacking chlorophyll the flowers are a translucent,ghostly white and often mistaken as a mushroom.

The Ghost Plant (Monotropa uniflora) is a species of flowering plant that lacks chlorophyll and the characteristic green color it provides.

The Indian Pipe is a very interesting ephemeral plant. It parasitizes a specific fungi that are symbiotic with the roots of some trees. It does not have any functional leaves and does not contain chlorophyll. This group of Monotropa were found in a forested park in Gainesville, Florida.

Monotropa uniflora

The Indian Pipes plant is a perenial flowering saprophytic (no chlorophyll, feeds on decaying wood), plant. It is sometimes called the Ghost Plant. This was found in the rich forest of McCormicks Creek State Park, after about a week of gentle rain. There were a great deal of other mushrooms growing nearby.

This is Monotropa uniflora


30 July 2020

McCormicks Creek State Park


Or Emily Dickinson, who called this oddity “the preferred flower of life.” But then the remarkable Ms. Dickinson is noted for her often unique opinions and perspectives. This is Monotropa uniflora, commonly known as Indian Pipe, Ghost Flower, and most appropriately perhaps, the Corpse Plant. Spectral, no?


I was surprised to find the featured specimen growing in relatively open space near my dock and amidst standard greenery. Thus the complimentary presentation. When I first discovered it, as the other photos in comments suggest, it was emerging from more appropriate inhospitable dark and dank locations making it very difficult (and unpleasant) to photograph.


I, like most, initially thought the clusters to be fungus, a variety of mushroom, but they are one of the few varieties of plant to have no chlorophyll and are parasitic on tree roots and fungus. Surprisingly, the flowers do attract the typical insect pollinators.

Ghost Pipe(Monotropa uniflora) emerges. This is a non-photosynthesizing plant in the Heath family. Chinquapin Mountain Trail, Nantahala National Forest.


Pentax K-1

SMC Pentax 1:1.8 55mm

Iridient Developer

Monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost plant, Indian pipe or corpse plant, is an herbaceous perennial plant native to temperate regions of Asia, North America and northern South America, but with large gaps between areas. The plant is sometimes completely waxy white, but often has black flecks or pale pink coloration. Rare variants may have a deep red color.

The trail in Avalanche Valley, in Glacier National Park, Montana, finds its way through an interesting and varied plant community as it ascends upward toward Avalanche Lake.


Near the trailhead, a massive grove of Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), and Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera) tower over the relatively broad mouth of Avalanche Valley. At the feet of these giant trees, some of which are over 500 years old, small patches of parasitic Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) grew in bizarre pale groupings. The forests on the west side of Glacier represent the eastern-most extent of the Pacific Northwest temperate rainforest ensemble, and are made possible by the high peaks to the east efficiently wringing moisture from clouds traveling from west to east over the Continental Divide.


Further up and closer to the lake, I found these nurse logs, sprouting new life from the stores of nutrients slowly released from the wooden bodies. A young Western Hemlock stakes its future on the gap that opened up after these two nurse individuals toppled. While the individual trees do not move all that much, the forest as a whole is constantly moving to fill gaps, created by fierce winter storms, then changing, and adjusting itself to most efficiently harvest light from any open space in the canopy.

Irix Dragonfly 150mm f/2.8, HDR in Aurora

The Latin name is Monotropa uniflora. This plant is in the heath family (Ericaceae), and is thus related to heather and blueberry plants. It has no chlorophyll, getting its nutrition from fungi in the ground that in turn get the nutrition from both rotting organic matter in the soil and from the roots of plants that get energy from the sun through photosynthesis.


Ghost plant is native to North America, from Alaska to Florida, and also occurs in Asia and northern South America.


This photo was taken in San Felasco Hammock on the NW side of Gainesville, Florida, USA.



Indian Pipes, aka Ghost Flowers (Monotropa uniflora) -

I was checking the bloom status of some orchids at the bottom of our property when I spotted a nice pair of Indian Pipes. After photographing them, I turned around and saw this much prettier grouping.

The plant lacks chlorophyll but instead gets its nutrients through a mutually beneficial relationship with a fungus in the soil where it grows.

Hiawassee, GA


Monotropa uniflora

Tuscarora State Park, Pennsylvania


A unique wildflower that does not have chlorophyl to photosynthesize - it depends on host for nutrients.


We stopped by at this beautiful park for having a picnic lunch on our way to the Adirondacks.A small beautiful park.


Photo:E-P1+MF-2+G.ZUIKO 50mmF1.4


アキノギンリョウソウ ( 秋の銀竜草 )

Monotropa uniflora

seems common this year - wonder if "individuals" only produce flowers on "good" years, and what would constitute a good year


my lichen photos by genus -


my photos arranged by subject, e.g. mountains -


Wildflower : Monotropa uniflora L.

(Perennial parasitic plant)

A plant in the wintergreen family; lacking chlorophyll it gets its nutrients entirely from decaying organic material in the soil. I find these unique little fellows hard to photograph and I am not sure I have done this one justice. But I thought some of my Flickr friends would like to see it anyway. I may have to go back later and try taking it with my close-up lens. It was entirely in the shade and I used a combination of bounced sunlight and diffused flash to try and get adequate light without blowing it out with over exposure.

Monotropa uniflora. Found along the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail. Stack of 9 images.


Raging River State Forest, WA

Monotropa uniflora- Plant with no chlorophyll and is parasitic, living on fungus on tree roots to provide them with energy.

AKA Ghost Plant and other common names.


It's a chlorophyll free flowering plant.


An old photo not posted before

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