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Monotropa hypopitys (Pinesap)
Cressler, Alan

Monotropa hypopitys

Monotropa hypopitys L.


Monotropaceae (Indian Pipe Family)

Synonym(s): Hypopitys americana, Hypopitys fimbriata, Hypopitys insignata, Hypopitys lanuginosa, Hypopitys latisquama, Hypopitys monotropa, Monotropa hypopithys ssp. lanuginosa, Monotropa hypopithys var. americana, Monotropa hypopithys var. latisquama, Monotropa hypopithys var. rubra, Monotropa lanuginosa, Monotropa latisquama

USDA Symbol: MOHY3

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

A monotypic genus Monotropa is achlorophyllous and is mycoheterotrophic; that is, it utilizes fungi to obtain carbon from the roots of autotrophic plants. In the case of this species, the fungi are ectomycorrhizal fungi in the family Tricholomataceae.

A saprophytic, red, pink, lavender, or yellow plant with several vase-like, nodding flowers on a downy, scaly stem; stem and flowers colored alike.

Autumn-flowering plants are characterized by their red color, while early-flowering forms are yellow. Like its single-flowered relative, Indian Pipe (M. uniflora), Pinesap does not carry on photosynthesis but obtains its nourishment from fungi associated with roots, often those of oaks and pines. The closely related, similar Sweet Pinesap (Monotropsis odorata) has united petals; it occurs in Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky south to Florida and Alabama. Sweet Pinesap has two flowering periods: February to April, when the flowers produced are faded rose colored and very fragrant, and September and October, when the flowers are lavender and odorless.


From the Image Gallery

13 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AK , AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Alberta east to Newfoundland, south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to Nebraska and Minnesota; widely distributed in West.
Native Habitat: Upland woods, usually in acidic soil.

Growing Conditions

Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-04-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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