Indian Pipe Monotropa uniflora

Plant Family: Indian Pipe Family – Monotropaceae

Other names: Ghost Plant, Corpse Plant, Ghost Pipe, indianpipe, ghostpipe

Indian Pipe close up

Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) close up.

Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) is a strange white wildflower.  It looks much more like a mushroom or some other fungus than it does a flowering plant.  The main reason being it is ghostly white.   There is no green because the plants do not contain chlorophyll, so unlike the vast, vast majority of plants, Indian Pipe cannot make its own food.  Indian Pipe gets by, by living off the food of other plants via its association with fungi.  The fungi form a beneficial relationship with plants.  They help process soil nutrients and bring water to green plants that then send carbohydrate food to the fungus in return.  Indian Pipe hijacks the system by stealing the food and providing nothing for the green plants or the fungus. In other words Indian Pipe is a parasite, an epiparasite to be specific.


Native American Medicinal Uses of Indian Pipe

  • Epilepsy
  • Female troubles
  • Colds
  • Pain
  • Warts
  • Wounds
  • Sore eyes
  • and many others
Indian Pipe, Monotropa uniflora

Group of Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) growing in a bog.


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