07.06.2019 Mycotroph as Norma Desmond

Almost pretty enough to be a movie star.  🙂

One-flowered Indian Pipe-Monotropa uniflora is a parasite having a symbiotic relationship with fungi for most all its needs. They are found singly, as above, or in clusters, but each is a single stem topped by a single flower.

They are just getting started here and will continue through the summer. Eventually, when mature, they stand straight as their seeds ripen.

Quite often folks mistake for them as fungi but they are plants. Fungi have mutualistic relationships with other organisms, plants generally, but Indian pipes, as they are more commonly known or ghost flowers, which have no chlorophyll just receive their nutrition from their fungi as they have nothing to offer in return.  For the most part they are waxy white, which is where the “ghost” name comes from, but as above sometimes have a pinkish tinge.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Closeup Photography, ecology, Flora, Intimate Landscape, Nature Photography, Quabbin, wildflower portrait, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to 07.06.2019 Mycotroph as Norma Desmond

  1. The Wikipedia article on this species says that “Rare variants may have a deep red color.” Have you ever seen one like that?


  2. The first one I ever saw was at Girl Scout Camp in the northeast. I thought they were amazing and I always look for them when I’m back up that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are very interesting plants and I am always happy to find them, including in our yard. Since they require fungi for their “nutrition” and fungi are the sign of a healthy ecosystem Monotropa are a good sign.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete Hillman says:

    These are so unusual Steve. Lovely photos and interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. shoreacres says:

    I’ve always thought these were quite a combination of weird and wonderful. I was sure I’d seen records of them in east Texas, and eventually I found observations posted on iNaturalist from places that I’ve been, such as the rare plant preserve in the Big Thicket. What’s odd is that most of the observations are from October and November. I would have expected them to be found in early spring — I’ll have to do a little more exploration.

    Every time I see them, they seem a little more attractive to me, and these photos make them seem more wonderful than weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here in the northeast I do find them at times in the autumn too, Linda. I tend to think of them as spring/summer flowers but their season can be variable, I think.

      I’m glad these images fended off the weird and brought on the wonderful. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lonagail says:

    Love all the comments about this plant, I have never seen one. Does Kentucky have them?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bluebrightly says:

    They’re just getting started here, too ,and they are always fun to see. The closeup is interesting, and I really like the way the second photo shows the typical habit so well.

    Liked by 1 person

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