Indian Pipes, Indian Ghost Pipes, Corpse Plant, or One-flower Indian Pipes
2007 Photograph, Indian Pipes, Indian Ghost Pipes, Corpse Plant, or One-flower Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora, Heath Family, Ericaceae), Fairfax Villa Park, Fairfax, Virginia, © 2014.
In this photograph, the "Pipes" are still emerging from the forest floor.
As you can see, this flowering plant has no chlorophyll. The only time you can see anything of this species is when it flowers. Most of the plant is underground where it is parasitic on tree roots via a fungus that actually transfers the nutrients from the tree roots. So, you might say this plant is a parasite of a parasite. As the stalks and flowers age, they begin to develop black blotches and eventually the flowers will point straight up instead of nodding and the whole above-ground plant will be black and dead.
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All images Copyright © 1999 - by Gerry Gantt, all rights reserved.