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Catching up with the two 52 weeks groups that I am a member of.


The theme for week 31 in the group 52 in 2013 was DoF.


This plant is an Indian pipe or corpse plant (Monotropa uniflora).


Indian Pipe grows only four to ten inches tall. It has flowers that droop and tiny, scale-like leaves. When they look at it, most people think Indian Pipe is a fungus. Indian Pipe is usually seen from June to September. It grows in shady woods with rich soil and decaying plant matter. This plant is often found near dead stumps.

Until recently, botanists believed that Indian Pipes were saprophytes, subsisting on dead or decaying organic material. Recent investigations, however, have revealed that Monotropa uniflora is actually parasitic on a fungus that is in a "mycorrhizal" relationship with a tree. The fungus and the tree are exchanging nutrients in a mutually beneficial relationship; the Indian Pipes have duped the fungus into "believing" it is in a second mycorrhizal relationship--but in reality the fungus gets nothing out of the deal, and is being parasitized by Monotropa uniflora. Chlorophyll is not involved in the process, which accounts for the plant's ghostly colors. (source : and


In the comment, you can see a picture of a cluster of them.


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Le thème pour la 31e semaine du groupe 52 in 2013 était Profondeur de champ.


Cette plante est un monotrope uniflore (Monotropa uniflora), une plante herbacée parasite de la famille des Éricacées.

Contrairement à la plupart des plantes, elle est blanche et ne contient pas de chlorophylle. Au lieu de produire son énergie par la photosynthèse, elle vit en parasite. Plus précisément, elle parasite la relation symbiotique mutualiste entre une mycorhize et son hôte conifère. La tige, qui peut atteindre de 10 à 30 cm de haut, est revêtue de feuilles réduites à de petites écailles de 5 à 10 mm de long. Comme le suggère son nom scientifique, et au contraire du monotrope du pin (Monotropa hypopitys), la tige ne porte qu'une seule fleur de 10 à 15 mm de long avec 3 à 8 pétales. Elle fleurit du début de l'été au début de l'automne. (source :


Vous pouvez voir un groupe de ces plantes dans le premier commentaire.

Also known as Ghost flower or Corpse plant, Monotropa uniflora is a parasitic plant that does not contain chlorophyll; ultimately it gets its energy from the photosynthesis that occurs in trees.

Monotropa seedpods standing tall among the accumulating leaf litter on the forest floor.

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

There's a whole bunch of late blooming indian pipe at the Manchester Cedar Swamp. This one was blushing prettily so I took its picture. Olympus legacy 90mm macro at probably f4

I've been home sick two days now. I finally got the gumption to get in the shower. When I got out, Jo was telling me about this flower that looked like an un-cooked shrimp (her words). So I threw on my shorts and sandals and went into the yard.


I'm usually up for any photo, so I laid on the ground and shot this flower, fungus, mushroom thing. This sight in itself must be disturbing, but I digress...


We have no clue what it is. Any thoughts?




Update, thanks for the ID Robert!


Another couple of late blooming indian pipe. They're so alluring that I have to shoot them. Luckily when I'm on my own, I can please myself. OM 90mm at f4 or so.

Monotropa uniflora

Indian Pipes sprouting in front of the 'three in a row' mushrooms near the trail at Southford Falls. Per Wikipedia: Unlike most plants, it is white and does not contain chlorophyll. It is parasitic and its hosts are fungi that are symbiotes of tree roots; thus, indirectly getting its energy from the tree's photosynthesis. Since it's not dependent on sunlight, it can grow in very dark environments such as that found in dense forests. Taken at Southford Falls State Park in Connecticut.


more Botanical


Pentax K-3 - SMC Pentax DA 55-300mm F4-5.8ED


I set out this morning to photograph some Gentian flowers that I thought would be in bloom at Eva Chandler Heritage Preserve in the upstate of South Carolina. I found them only in bud. I looked around to see what else I could photograph and had just about given up when I spotted these really nice seed capsules of Monotropa uniflora (Indian Pipes).


This is a plant with no chlorophyl, so since it can not photosynthesize, it has to get its nutrients from the best place it can: an underground fungus. This type of plant is called an obligate mycoheterotroph. It is a parasite on a fungus which breaks down decayed material.


Most of the Indian Pipes I've seen as flowering plants are generally white with an occasional touch of pink, but these must have been really pretty as flowers, since the stem and seed capsule are quite a beautiful shade of pink.

On a quick walk up the castle this afternoon I spotted some odd looking plants - they were a bit worse for wear. I checked in my book, I think I've ID'd them correctly, if not let me know.

Wish I'd found them a few days earlier, I have used the warmyfy tool in picasa to give it a bit of oomph as it seemed a bit flat.

Macro of an indian pipe blossom with one petal missing. Shot with the legacy OM 90mm f2 macro. I just love how the hidden structure is revealed. According to my reading, that oval shape inside the petals and under the stamens is some kind of fruit and is what is left of the flower when it dies back. I think I'm going to have to cut one open when they ripen...only trouble is, how to tell if indian pipe berries are ripe? : )


To read more about this nature preserve visit

A plant without chlorophyll that attachs its roots to a fungus and gets its nutrients that way. [1]


Taken in Campbell Falls State Park which straddles the state line between Connecticut and Massachusetts. You enter in CT and on the way to the waterfall, you'll pass a marker that denotes the state line with CONN on one side and MASS on the other.


more Botanical


Pentax K200D - Pentax DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6AL II


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

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

Bear Brook state park has a section that's practically carpeted with indian pipe. Naturally, I got a little lost in it and did some handheld experimentation.

The first time I ever recall seeing Indian Pipe was at Camp Alleghany during a campcraft hike with Ruth. She was a gifted teacher and I will remember her always. She pointed out many "firsts" to me and helped foster my love of the outdoors. Most of them were past their prime and dried up. I was fortunate to get two extras in this shot...the little fly in flight and the caterpillar.

Another in my indian pipe project. Strangely there were no new flowers blooming next to last years dessicated husks. Still thought they looked good against the brightly lit canopy. Shot w/the OM 90mm f2 legacy macro at probably f8 or 5.6

It wasnt his last puff but it could have been......... smoking is easiest way to commit suicide .... choice is yours

On the forest floor this time of year, there grows a most unique flower.

Called Indian Pipe, Ghost Flower or Ghost Plant, Monotropa uniflora is not a fungus, but a flower. It has roots, stem, leaves of a sort and a flower. It produces pollen.

What it lacks is chlorophyll to turn it green and give it the ability to make its own food. Therefore it is a parasite and lives off certain decaying trees and fungi.

Explore...7/4/07...thanks everyone!


Indian Pipe

Monotropa uniflora

Indian pipe, like its relative pinesap, has no chlorophyll, so it cannot obtain energy from sunlight. Instead, it gets nutrients from organic matter in the soil.


• Family: Indian-pipe (Monotropaceae)

• Habitat: woods, in leafy humus

• Height: 4-10 inches

• Flower size: 3/4 inch long

• Flower color: white

• Flowering time: June to September

• Origin: native


~ William MacNeile Dixon


This was something else that caught my eye when I ventured into the woods. There were several patches of these growing, and they were really just stunning to look at. The contrast between the deep browns and greens and the luminescence of new growth was awesome.


I have no idea what this is or what it will become. Will it turn green? Will it be tall or stay tiny? It is left up to my imagination right now - the possibilities are endless!


It reminds me of when my boys were little - I wondered when will they walk and talk,? What will they look like when they are older? And, now I ask where will they go to college? Will they be successful in life? The possibilites are still endless!!!


This one came SOOC.


Identified as Monotropastrum humile by myu-myu


Ginsky says: "also known, commonly, as 'indian pipes', a member of the wintergreen family (strangely enough)"

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

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

Larabee State Park, Washington. July 2014.

Rare but apparently locally common, this is a non-photosynthetic plant that derives its nutrients from the mycelium of certain mushrooms. The mushrooms in turn get their nutrients from the rootlets of neighboring trees as part of a plant-fungal relationship known as myco-heterotrophy. Myco-heterotrophs tend to grow in the deep shade of coniferous forests since they don't require light to grow

[ Monotropa uniflora; ghost flowers ]

these lovely little plants are found only in dark, wet wooded areas of n. america, s. america and japan.


Copyright 2008 M. Fleur-Ange Lamothe

Just starting, in the very same place as last year and the year before. I noticed it in the afternoon sun.

Indian Pipe, also known as “Corpse Plant,” is one of the easiest plants to recognize. Unlike most plants, Indian Pipe doesn’t have chlorophyll, the stuff that makes plants green. Indian Pipe is a waxy, whitish color. It turns black when it gets old.


Indian Pipe grows only four to ten inches tall. It has flowers that droop and tiny, scale-like leaves. When they look at it, most people think Indian Pipe is a fungus.


Indian Pipe is usually seen from June to September. It grows in shady woods with rich soil and decaying plant matter. This plant is often found near dead stumps.


Indian Pipe has two special relationships; one with a tree, and one with a fungus. Actually, it's one relationship, where Indian Pipe takes nutrients from both the tree and the fungus at the same time.


Here's how it works: Since Indian Pipe has no chlorophyl, it can't make its own food like most plants. Therefore, it has to "borrow" nutrients, either from decaying plant matter, or from another organism. The way it does this is by having its roots tap into the mycelia (root-like threads) of a fungus. The Indian Pipe can then take nutrients directly from the fungus. Meanwhile, the fungus itself has another relationship going on with a tree. The fungus's mycelia also tap into the tree's roots. Many fungi and trees have this type of relationship -- it's called a "mycorrhizal relationship." The fungus gives nutrients to the tree and the tree gives nutrients to the fungus. Both organisms help each other out.


Indian Pipe, however, does not give anything back to the fungus or the tree. It takes nutrients from the fungus that the fungus had gotten for itself, and it also takes nutrients that the fungus had received from the tree. Since the fungus then has to take more nutrients from the tree, this makes Indian Pipe a parasite of both the fungus and the tree.


Indian Pipe doesn't become a parasite of every fungus and tree, only certain species. We don't know all the species yet, but we do know they use Russula mushrooms and Lactarius mushrooms. Some trees that have mycorrhizal reltionships with these mushrooms, and are used by Indian Pipe, include American Beech and pines.


Indian Pipe is a food source for small bumble bees, which visit flowers for nectar. The bees help the plant by pollinating it. Later, the plant grows tiny seeds.


Even though Indian Pipe is a beautiful plant, don't bother picking it (You shouldn't pick wildflowers anyway!!!!). It wilts and turns black very quickly.


Indian Pipe is a unique and interesting plant, and worth taking a close look at if you find one.



Dappled sunlight is tricky with indian pipe, but I think this little group is working it. OM 90mm at f5.6 or so.

We hiked Spruce Mountain today.

From wikipedia:


"Monotropa uniflora, also known as the Ghost Plant, Indian Pipe, or Corpse Plant is a herbaceous perennial plant, formerly classified in the family Monotropaceae, but now included within the Ericaceae. It is native to temperate regions of Asia, North America and northern South America, but with large gaps between areas.[1] It is generally scarce or rare in occurrence but is common or even ubiquitous in some areas, such as many parts of eastern North America.


Unlike most plants, it is white and does not contain chlorophyll. Instead of generating energy from sunlight, it is parasitic, more specifically a myco-heterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees. Since it is not dependent on sunlight to grow, it can grow in very dark environments as in the understory of dense forest. The complex relationship that allows this plant to grow also makes propagation difficult."


Growing at my camp site: Rosebery Provincial Park, near New Denver, B.C.

Parc National de la Mauricie, Québec, Canada. Dans le sous-bois (sombre...), le long du ruisseau à Brodeur.


The Amboy 4-H Environmental Education Center, located at 748 Rte 183, between Routes 69 and 13, near Williamstown, NY

Sweet Pinesap

Location: Clear Creek Metro Park

Indian Pipe (Flower Not Fungus)

Needham Town Forest, Sept 10, 2006

Explore! Thank you so much everyone!

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