Monotropa uniflora

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Indian pipe)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Monotropa uniflora
Indian pipe PDB.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Monotropoideae
Genus: Monotropa
Species: M. uniflora
Binomial name
Monotropa uniflora
M. uniflora macro shot of flower. Image taken near Kearney Ontario, Canada.

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.[1] 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.[citation needed]

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

M. uniflora 
Monotropa uniflora stem detail. 
Monotropa uniflora flowering part detail. 
Each of ten anthers open via two curving slits. 
Photograph of flower and stem leaves.
M. uniflora displaying its common, light pink coloring. 
Photograph of flower interior.
M. uniflora displaying the rare red coloration. 
Photograph of a dense cluster of plants.
M. uniflora displaying a pink coloration. 
M. uniflora displaying a red coloration. 
Leaves are scale-like, without chlorophyll, alternating on a waxy stem. 
M. uniflora growing in numbers at Camano Island State Park


  1. ^ Neyland, Ray; Hennigan, Melissa K. (2004). "A Cladistic analysis of Monotropa uniflora (Ericaceae) inferred from large ribosomal subunit (26S) rRNA gene sequences". Castanea. 69 (4): 265–271. doi:10.2179/0008-7475(2004)069<0265:ACAOMU>2.0.CO;2. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ David Matthews "Indian Pipes, Ithaca NY"
  4. ^ Yang, S.; Pfister, D. H. (2006). "Monotropa uniflora plants of eastern Massachusetts form mycorrhizae with a diversity of russulacean fungi". Mycologia. 98 (4): 535–540. doi:10.3852/mycologia.98.4.535. PMID 17139846. 

External links[edit]