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Free images of Plants
Monotropa uniflora
[Indian Pipe]

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Monotropa uniflora is also known as the "Ghost Plant" and the "Corpse Plant".  Undoubtedly it acquired at least some of its common names due to its ghostly white colour.  This species is even more commonly known as "Indian Pipe" due to its curved downward shape.  Monotropa uniflora means "once-turned, single flower".

Like many non-mycologists, at  first glance I suspected this plant to be a type of fungus due to its fungus-like appearance.  Perhaps some type of coral is what I suspected.  It is, in fact, a flowering plant - in the blueberry family!

Unlike most plants, M. uniflora is a "heterotrophic" non-photosyntheic plant - one of about 3000 such species.  It does not have chlorophyll to make it green.  Easy to recognize, M. uniflora is a waxy white colour that turns black when it gets old.  It sometimes has black or pink flecks.  Some very rare variants have a deep red colour.

M. uniflora grows to be about 10 - 30 cm in height.  It has flowers that droop downward and leaves that look somewhat like scales.  It can be found between June to September and, as with these specimens that I found while hiking in New York State's Finger Lakes region, grow in shady woods that have rich soil and an abundance of decaying plant matter.  It is not dependent upon sunlight and therefore can be found in dark environments like dense forests.  Note the Oak leaves and rich mulch on which these plants were growing.

M. uniflora is an interesting plant since it has a relationship with both a tree and a fungus.  Since it has no chlorophyll to make its own food, M. uniflora takes nutrients from the root-like threads called "mycelia" of a fungus which in turn has taken its nutrients from a tree's roots. Since M. uniflora uses the nutrients from both a tree and the fungus giving nothing back in return, it is known as a parasite of each.  The species only like certain fungi like the Russula and Lactarius mushrooms.

The complex relationship of this plant makes propagation difficult and finding this species is rather rare in occurrence.

 white flower plant that looks like fungus Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe - 1
[Photographed in Taughannock Falls State Park, New York along the rim trail in July] 

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Indian Pipe, Ghost Plant,  Corpse plant

Indian Pipe - 2
[Photographed in Taughannock Falls State Park, New York along the rim trail in July] 

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Monotropa uniflora, Indian Pipe blooming in Taughannock Falls State Park

Indian Pipe - 3
[Photographed in Taughannock Falls State Park, New York along the rim trail in July] 

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Monotropa uniflora Indian Pipe bloom

Indian Pipe - 4
[Photographed in Taughannock Falls State Park, New York along the rim trail in July] 

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White blooming plant with no chlorophyll

Indian Pipe - 5
[Photographed in Taughannock Falls State Park, New York along the rim trail in July] 

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Indian Pipe Ghost Corpse Plant

Indian Pipe - 6
[Photographed in Taughannock Falls State Park, New York along the rim trail in July] 

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Did you know....

each stalk of the Indian Pipe has a solitary flower that turns upward after pollination?

 

Monotropa Uniflora along Taughannock Falls State Park New York wildflower

Indian Pipe - 7
[Photographed in Taughannock Falls State Park, New York along the rim trail in July] 

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Indian Plant bloom

Indian Pipe - 8
[Photographed in Taughannock Falls State Park, New York along the rim trail in July] 

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White bloom black leaves of Indian Pipe plant

Indian Pipe - 9
[Photographed in Taughannock Falls State Park, New York along the rim trail in July] 

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White plant looks like fungus mushroom

Indian Pipe - 10
[Photographed in Southern Ontario at the end of July] 

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White plants on forest floor Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe - 11
[Photographed in Southern Ontario at the end of July] 

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White plants forest floor summer Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe - 12
[Photographed in Southern Ontario at the end of July] 

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Monotrop multiflora Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe - 13
[Photographed in Southern Ontario at the end of July] 

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Indian Pipe flower blooms

Indian Pipe - 14
[Photographed in Southern Ontario at the end of July] 

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Monotropa uniflora Indian Pipe white flower

Indian Pipe - 15
[Photographed in Southern Ontario at the end of July] 

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White flowers of plant on forest floor Monotropa uniflora

Indian Pipe - 16
[Photographed in Southern Ontario at the end of July] 

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White flowers of Indian Pipe Southern Ontario forest plant

Indian Pipe - 17
[Photographed in Southern Ontario at the end of July] 

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Lovely Lichens &
Magnificent Mosses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lichens - Two types of organisms living together - a fungus and an alga.  The fungus makes the body that protects the alga, and the alga provides the food for the fungus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoreau once wrote:  "I find myself inspecting little granules as it were on the bark of trees - little shields or apothecia springing from a thallus - such is the mood of my mind - and I call it studying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classification - 

Lichens were problematic for biological classification but are now classified as fungi under the genus and species of the host fungus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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