Monotropa uniflora L., Sp. Pl. 387 1753. (Syn. Hypopitys uniflora (L.) Crantz; Monotropa australis Andres; Monotropa brittonii Small; Monotropa coccinea Zucc.; Monotropa coccinea var. nicaraguensis Lange; Monotropa morisoni Pers.; Monotropa morisoniana Michx.; Monotropa uniflora var. australis (Andres) Domin; Monotropa uniflora var. coccinea (Zucc.) Domin; Monotropa uniflora subsp. coccinea (Zucc.) Andres; Monotropa uniflora var. nicaraguensis Lange; Monotropa uniflora f. rosea Fosberg; Monotropa uniflora var. variegata Andres);
Monotropa uniflora, also known as the ghost plant, Indian pipe, or corpse plant, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to temperate regions of 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.
Like most mycoheterotrophic plants, M. uniflora associates with a small range of fungal hosts, all of them members of Russulaceae.
(From Wikipedia on 7.10.14)
Monotropa uniflora L. from Uttarakhand: October 2014_DSR_1 : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (1).
Monotropa uniflora L (Ericaceae), sometimes also placed in its own family Monotropaceae, is a strange angiosperm as it completely devoid of green colour (Chlorophyll is absent). It grows in dense temperate forests where thick layer of litter exists on forest floor in Uttarakhand. It is a rare species having bell shaped nodding solitary flower.
A saprophytic angiosperm, Monotropa uniflora is also known as Indian Pipe Plant though it is found in many parts of the world including Americas. Entire plant is up to 15 cm tall and flower bearing stalks often occur in cluster.
Photographed in Chopta forest near Tungnath (Chamoli) Uttarakhand by Mr Satish Chandra.
It is a new genus and species in eFI database.
Nice collections and photographs …
Wonderful picture. Very striking absence of chlorophyll.
does it ever set seeds?
Are there other monotropoidss in India? I wonder.
In the mountains in the Sequoia forests during early summer/late spring red (and no cholorphyll) iceplants come up, ided as Sarcodes sanguinea, same sort of origin and same sort of functions in the forest floor … and these are the other extreme (in brightest red color) of these monotropoids.
SK668 23 JUL-2017:ID : 4 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (5)
Location: Shivapuri National Park, Nepal
Altitude: 7500 ft.
Date: 22 July 2017
Monotropa hypopithys L. or Monotropa uniflora L. ?
Elevation matches with Monotropa hypopithys L. .
Pl. check with images of Monotropa uniflora at
Monotropa uniflora L. : 8 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (5)- around 1 Mb each.
Location: Phulchoki, Lalitpur
Date: 16 September 2019
Elevation: 2029 m.
Habit : Wild
yes. re-reading about it, I cant believe its a member of the Ericaceae.
they are plants, relying on fungus underground, that in turn rely on the host trees to supple the fungus network the food it needs.
what a lot of interdependent system??
Interesting really !
Beautiful images of this mycoheterotrophic plant.