Indian Ghost Pipe ( Monotropa Uniflora )

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James Parton
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Indian Ghost Pipe ( Monotropa Uniflora )

Post by James Parton » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:42 am

ENTS,

While hiking the Flat Laurel Creek Trail last Saturday I noticed numerous small pale upright flowers on the forest floor. I recognized them immediatly as Indian Ghost Pipe. They are known by a number of names including Indian Ghost Pipe, Indian Pipe, Ghost Flower, Corpse Plant, Ice Plant, etc. My sister Becky found them unusually beautiful too. One at first glance would confuse them for a fungus but the flower should tell you that is not so. The plants color is usually a ghostly white or pale pink, hence the name but it can be also a darker pink color or in rare cases red or a pale blue.

The plants lack of color is due to it's lack of the green pigment chlorophyll. Due to it's lack of chlorophyll the plant cannot photosynthesize or make it's own food. In fact the method it uses to obtain it's nourishment is quite fascinating. It parasitizes mycorrhizal fungi that in turn get their nourishment from nearby trees. The fungi have some benefit to the trees being able to utilize certain menerals and holding moisture, that is they are mutually symbiotic but the Pipe Plant is truly parasitic, obtaining nutrients directly from the fungi which obtains much of it's food from the trees. It is a fascinating process. I will attach some links to explain it in more detail.

In fact the fungus which the Pipe Plant is obtaining its food has toadstools scattered about in many places along the trail. It is a flat topped reddish fungus. The Pipe Plant itself is amazingly common here too.

James Cameron could have used this plant in his Avatar universe by scaling it up and giving it bioluminescent properties. It would have fit in well on Pandora!

Monotropa Hypopitys is a rarer closely related species. I have not seen this one.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotropa_uniflora

http://www.bedfordaudubon.org/seasons/s ... ipe01.html

http://www.macphailwoods.org/indianpipe.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycorrhizal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russulaceae

James
Attachments
Indian Pipe.JPG
Indian Pipe Plants.JPG
Ghost Flower.JPG
Indian Ghost Pipe Flowers.JPG
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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James Parton
Posts: 1576
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Re: Indian Ghost Pipe ( Monotropa Uniflora )

Post by James Parton » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:30 am

ENTS,

I found a site detailing closely how the Ghost Plant gets its food. Check it out!

http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/oct2002.html

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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Beth
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Re: Indian Ghost Pipe ( Monotropa Uniflora )

Post by Beth » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:39 pm

James, those are beautiful. I love the "ghostly" color.

Beth
Trees are the Answer

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James Parton
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Re: Indian Ghost Pipe ( Monotropa Uniflora )

Post by James Parton » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:32 pm

Beth,

There is great beauty in this plants oddness.

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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