May 22, 2018 at 9:58 am #1576RoisinModerator
- Mom Friend
- Group Admin
It takes a very special relationship for Indian Pipes to grow, as they are a parasitic plant that does not produce chlorophyl and so cannot produce its own food. It will have its roots tap into the mycelia of a fungus. Then it is able to take nutrients from the fungus. The fungus also has its mycelia attached to the roots of a tree [mycorrihizal relationship – where the tree and fungus share nutrients with one another]. The Indian Pipes do not share anything in the relationship and so therefore are considered parasitic, though they do not cause any damage to the fungus or tree
- This topic was modified 11 months ago by Roisin.
May 26, 2018 at 11:28 pm #2735mnm1994Keymaster
- Queen Bee
Oh wow! So, I’d never heard of these before and looked up a photo of them…they’re beautiful
May 27, 2018 at 8:48 am #2757Greenbird15Keymaster
- Queen Bee
- Site Admin
Monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost plant (or ghost pipe), Indian pipe or corpse plant, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to temperate regions of Udmurtiya in European Russia, Asia, North America and northern South America, but with large gaps between areas. It was formerly classified in the family Monotropaceae; however, it has now been included within the Ericaceae. It is generally scarce or rare in occurrence.
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. It is often associated with beech trees. The complex relationship that allows this plant to grow also makes propagation difficult.
The plant is sometimes completely white but commonly has black flecks and a pale pink coloration. Rare variants may have a deep red color.
The stems reach heights of 10–30 cm, clothed with small scale-leaves 5–10 mm long. As its scientific name suggests, and unlike the related Monotropa hypopitys (but like the closely related Monotropastrum humile), the stems bear only a single flower, 10–15 mm long with 3-8 petals. It flowers from early summer to early autumn, often a few days after rainfall.
Like most mycoheterotrophic plants, M. uniflora associates with a small range of fungal hosts, all of them members of Russulaceae.
The plant has been used an a nervine in western herbal medicine since the late nineteenth century.