Indian Pipe

Monotropa uniflora
Sunday, June 20, 2010

You may often see this small (4-10”) white or slightly pinkish plant in fact many people may mistake it as a fungus.  It is white because it doesn’t have any chlorophyll. What you see is only the flower and stem; it doesn’t need leaves because it is a parasite. 

It is a special type of parasite because it uses a mycorrhizal network (a network of underground fungus roots that have a mycorrhizal relationship with the tree in which they share nutrients.)  
If you look inside the flower you can see a small yellow cluster of pollen. This flower is bee pollinated and will later make small seeds.
This plant is commonly found in forests with lots of dead, decaying plants and animals (like Mountain Lake).  This plant is called “Indian pipe” for obvious reasons (it looks like a pipe when turned on its side).
This particular specimen was found behind Clayton.
Article by Jesse Galloway