Indian Pipes - Monotropa uniflora (Wintergreen family - Pyrolaceae)

 

Indian Pipes - Monotropa uniflora (Wintergreen family - Pyrolaceae) The translucent, waxy pipes are unique. This non-green, waxy plant gets its nourishment from decayed organic material through a fungal relationship (mycorrhiza) associated with the roots. The plant turns black as the fruit ripens or when it is picked and dried.

 

 

 

The single nodding flower turns upright as seeds are forming (see left). Leaves are scale-like. 4 - 10 in. Shady woods. The plant is cool and clammy to the touch and readily turns black and decays when touched. Its pallor probably earned it its other name: Corpse Plant. Native Americans and early settlers used a clear juice extracted from crushed stems for eye problems.

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