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Monotropa uniflora (Indianpipe) | NPIN

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Monotropa uniflora (Indianpipe)
Glase, Terry

Monotropa uniflora

Monotropa uniflora L.

Indianpipe, Indian Pipe

Monotropaceae (Indian-Pipe Family)

Synonym(s): Monotropa brittonii

USDA Symbol: moun3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

Waxy white plant that blackens with age; stems covered with scaly bracts and terminated by a solitary nodding flower that looks like a shepherd’s hook.

These plants were once believed to absorb all nutrients from decayed organic material, but it is now known that they are associated with a fungus, which obtains nutrients directly from the roots of green plants. Indian Pipe, therefore, is more of a parasite, with the fungus as a bridge between it and its host. The plant turns black as the fruit ripens or when it is picked and dried.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AK , AL , AR , CA , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Northwestern California to Alaska; east across the northern part of the western and most of the eastern United States.
Native Habitat: Deep shaded woods.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Conditions Comments: 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. (Niering)


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Plant identification
September 24, 2008
I found a flower about 5 inches tall and it is Pinkish White the head of it hangs down and looks like a rose that hasn't bloomed yet. It reminds me of an Orchid like Fairy . Its Mystic like! what is ...
view the full question and answer

From the Archive

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Recommended Species Lists

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Additional resources

USDA: Find Monotropa uniflora in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Monotropa uniflora in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Monotropa uniflora


Record Modified: 2013-06-24
Research By: TWC Staff

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