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All by themselves in the deep dark forest.


Western Maryland

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.

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.

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

At the beginning of his eminently readable and laconic history - often highly humorous - of Steuben County (1853), Guy Humphrey McMaster (1829-1887), sometime historian and lawyer of Bath, New York, writes tongue-in-cheek: 'The early History of Steuben County cannot be a record of events which are called great.' Although geologically it must have been no less than cataclysmic. And a bit later he notes that even Native Americans of the Six Nations - in his parlance of course 'Indians' - had made little inroads into the area, which includes the gorge of Stony Brook. Given the friendly relation of the first backwoodsman and his Native companion who in 1787 stand at the beginning of Steuben history, peace pipes hardly needed smoking...

Here though is Indian Pipe, Monotropa uniflora, which I saw in the forest of Stony Brook. An early description by intrepid Mark Catesby (1682-1749) is quite short and matter-of-fact - very different from most of his other portrayals. But his sketch of our plant is rather beautiful even though it's virtually colorless.

Big Wood State Park, Nerstrand, Minnesota

Commonly known as Corpse Plant, Ghost Plant, and Indian Pipe, this plant has a huge range. It can grow in some very dark places, because it does not need light for photosynthesis. It is not a fungus, but rather an oddball plant that may harken back to a distant plants. Instead of using photosynthesis to get its nutrients, it gets its food from mycorrhizal fungi, which live in the soil around tree roots. Mycorrhizal fungi has a symbiotic relationship with trees; it gives the trees nutrients that it takes from the soil, and the tree in turn gives it nutrients, which it gets from the process of photosynthesis. Monotropa uniflora, the corpse plant, is related to the blueberry and is fussy about which fungi it will feed from. Usually, it takes nutrients only from fungi that grow on the roots of oaks, pines, and beech trees.

Sometimes called Ghost Plant, this plant has no chlorophyll. It is waxy, and can be white to pale pink. Often mistakenly thought to be a fungus, it is a saprophyte which gets its energy from decaying matter and fungi. The flowers, which nod downwards prior to pollination, turn upwards as the plant matures.


I noticed a tiny spider at the top of one of the plants...


At our cabin, Hiawassee, GA

Thanks for the info! there were about 20 different fungi around my campsite on the eastern shore....I thought this was one also but found out it's's actually a flower.....I had fun photographing them and wish I knew more about them. These were the oddest and were coming up in clumps at many spots.


See Indian Pipe link below

More of my favorite wildflower. This year produced a ton of them all over the yard which makes me very, very happy. OM 90mm at f4 or so.

I actually remember the first time I saw "Indian Pipes" in the woods. I was probably 6 or 7 and on a hike at Brownie Day Camp. The strange white flowers stems amazed me and when I learned they were called "Indian Pipes" or "ghost flowers", I was totally captivated.

Now I know that they are truly flowers and not fungi. Because they have no chlorophyll, they do not use photosynthesis and so can grow in the deepest regions of the forests.

they are pollinated by small bumblebees and after fertilization the flowers turn a pale pink color.

I don't often go into the woods without a tripod, but this time I did and I still couldn't resist this ghostly beauty. I love the little one just coming up from the needles.

Monotropa uniflora is its official name. It also goes by ghost plant.

Species from eastern North America and the Pacific Northwest


Common name: Indian Pipe, Ghost Pipe


Photographed on the Varnall Springs Trail, Mt. Nebo State Park, Yell County, Arkansas

Copyright 2008 M. Fleur-Ange Lamothe

You know autumn is near by when these start to appear. These were catching the first rays of the morning sun.

The Indian Pipes are springing up everywhere on the forest floor. I've loved them ever since I was a little girl.

Monotropa uniflora

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.

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


Raging River State Forest, WA

Photo taken while hiking in Ontario's Pakasqwa National Park, which is located on the northern or eastern shore (depending on how you look at it) of Lake Superior.

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

I was so happy to find these yesterday! However the skeeters were absolutely viscous in the deep woods, I didn't stay long.


Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora L.)

One little patch of many growing along the trail @ Saltons Brook, Terra Nova National Park

(Monotropa uniflora). Deep East Texas.


I was surprised to find this species in bloom in a longleaf pine savannah on New Year's Day.

Monotropa uniflora, ghost plant, Indian pipe, or corpse plant.

And the final question was \ . / \ . / \ . / \ . / \ . / \ . / \ . / (drumroll :)


What type of Tobacco do you smoke in an Indian Pipe...:)


Indian Pipe along a Virginia Stream.


Remembering Jeopardy :)


Hey man music is music, its all good :)



Species from North America

The delicate growth of an an indian pipe flower on the forest floor is framed by the soft bokeh of the Canon 50 mm f/1.4 lens.

This is a fascinating little plant, totally lacking in chlorophyll and sometimes called "the Ghost Plant". Although it is actually a plant it resembles a fungus. Vic came across a bunch of these odd little guys while out fishing. A good article on them can be found at:

Uploaded with the Flock Browser

This is not a fungi but rather a parasitic plant. Instead of using

chlorophyll it takes its nutrition from a fungi in the soil.

While looking at critter tracks in my yard I spied some indian pipe sticking up out of the snow. Of course I went back for the camera. OM 90mm at f11

Suttree in the woods was surprised to find small flowers still. He fell into silent studies over the delicate loomwork in the moss. Annular forms of lichens fiery green that sprawled across the stones like tiny jade volcanoes. The scalloped fungus that ledged old rotted logs, flangeous mammary growths with a visceral consistency and pale indianpipes in pulpy clusters among the debris of humus and rich decay and mushrooms with serrate and membraneous soffits where under toads are reckoned to siesta. Or elves, he said. In breeks of kingscord, shirts paned up of silk tailings, no color like the rest. A curious light lay in the forest. He was squatting in the rich and murky earth, the blanket about his shoulders. He wondered could you eat the mushrooms, would you die, do you care. He broke one in his hands, frangible, mauvebrown and kidneycolored. He'd forgotten he was hungry.


-- excerpt from Suttree, by novelist Cormac McCarthy


blogged at Land of Little Rain, with links to Cormac McCarthy sites

July 8, 2017


Indian Pipe (or corpse flower) Monotropa uniflora.


Indian pipe looks like a fungus but it's not. It's a real flowering plant with roots leaves and flowers. (related to blueberries)


It doesn't have any chlorophyll to turn it green so it remains colorless. Also, because it has no chlorophyll, and can't make it's own food, it has to get its nutrients from something else, so it attaches to a certain resident fungus, and leeches off ITS food (which the fungus is in turn leeching from its host tree).


7DWF - Flora


Charles River Peninsula Nature Reserve

Needham, Massachusetts


Photo by brucetopher

© Bruce Christopher 2017

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...always learning - critiques welcome.

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