Indian Pipe

also known as the ghost plant, or corpse plant
Scientific Name:Monotropa uniflora
Hike to hart's cove on the coast 8/13/13

The Indian Pipe is entirely white. It does not contain any chlorophyll and thus does not generate energy from sunlight as green plants do.

Instead Indian Pipes are parasitic, more specifically a myco-heterotroph. Myco-heterotrophic plants host fungi that in turn are mycorrhizal with trees. This means that Indian Pipes gets its energy from photosynthetic trees.

Since Indian Pipes are not dependent on sunlight to grow, they can grow in very dark environments as in the bottom layer of dense forest.

Indian Pipes are parasites. That is, they give nothing back to the tree.

The mycelia that are attached to tree roots have a symbiotic relationship with the tree. Mycelia provides a tree to which it is attached with certain nutrients and in turn receives sugar and starch from the tree. Plants like Indian pipes have host certain fungi that take nutrients from the mycelia, but they give nothing back. Hence they are parasites.

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