Flower of the Week

(Monotropa uniflora )

* Monotropa, from the Latin, "once-turned'', reference to the flowers, which face the ground early in life, and turn straight upward once they begin producing seeds. Uniflora, from the Latin, "single flower''.

*Other common names include Corpse Plant, Ghost Flower, Ghost Pipe, Ice Plant, Bird's Nest, American Iceplant, Dutchman's Pipe, Fairy Smoke, Death Plant, Pipe-plant, Wax Plant, Eyebright, Convulsion Weed, Convulsion Root or Fit Root.
I myself think the nicknames are pretty cool!

* Indian pipes are flowering plants, but they contain no chlorophyll. Without chlorophyll, they don't have to depend on sunlight to grow, and therefore thrive in shady areas.

* Well, you may ask, how are these marvelous plants nourished without chlorophyll? Indian pipes are saprophytic, which means they have a symbiotic relationship with fungi, which break down organic matter around the plant's root and provide a constant supply of nutrients.

Note: Another plant which has no chlorophyll is Pinesap although I have yet to encounter this little guy for a photo op.

*The root has traditionally been used as a sedative and antispasmodic to treat fits and convulsions such as occurs in epilepsy, and other nervous conditions. It was also used externally for healing sores, bunions and warts.

* Plant translucent, waxy, pipe-like.
* Flower nodding, white or pink, turning blackish with age.
* Leaves scale-like.
* Height: 4-10".

Natural History:
* Visible June - September.
* Habitat: Shady woods, in soil rich with decaying vegetation.
* Range: Northeastern United States.

I left the photo BIG so that you could see the flower in detail, take a click!

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