Wildflowers of New York

Indian Pipe

A photographic collection and brief reference to help identify Wildflowers found in New York

Indian Pipe
- Monotropa uniflora


Ericaceae Family
A big family that includes mostly shrubs like blueberries and wintergreen. Whoda thought?

AKA: Ghost Plant
Often mistaken for a fungus because of it's lack of color. Without chlorophyll the plant is a ghostly translucent white with tiny scale like leaves. Found in deep shade the effect is eerie looking.

Because the plant lacks chlorophyll it has to get nutrients some other way. Short, stubby roots connect to fungi which extends in a web-like way through dead rotting leaves and connect up to the roots of trees. The trees provide sugar which the fungi carry to the Indian Pipe plant. So it's really a parasite on fungi.

I find more in mixed woods with Beech and Pine but discovery is not limited to those specific trees in my experience.

Found: Dark moist rich woods
Height: 4 - 10 inch
June - Sept bloom time

Just emerging a group of Indian Pipe looks very much like some kind of fungus

Indian Pipe

Flowers usually nod downwards and as they mature they start to get a heads up

Indian Pipe

I had a hard time trying to identify these before I realized the flowers were fully heads up and the petals missing

Indian Pipe