Saturday, March 1, 2008

Indian Pipe? Monotropa Uniflora

Dare I hope? When browsing the gorgeous photos at this website, I idled through the photos of Indian Pipe. I came to the photos of its seed pods and stopped in my tracks. I’ve seen those pods before. . . in the back yard!

I think this is Indian Pipe. But I hesitate to say it actually is, because I so much want it to be.

What makes Indian pipe so cool? For one it’s rare. For another, it looks like some kind of mushroom. But it actually is a plant that lacks chlorophyll. Instead of feeding on sunlight, it is a parasite that feeds off of some sort of fungus that in turn lives in symbiosis with particular types of tree roots. In other words, even if I were able to acquire seeds, there is no chance that I could plant this stuff and expect it to grow.

I will be eagerly watching for signs of mysterious white sprouts in the summer!

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