They’re back! While I didn’t blog about the Ghost Flowers I found last July, I did post about them on Facebook. I’m happy to say that while they’re in different locations this year, I’ve still found some popping up in the woods surrounding our yard.
First, a little blurb about what they are, from USWildflowers.com –
Monotropa uniflora – Indian Pipe, Ghost Flower, Ghost Plant. When first seen, Indian Pipe seems more like a mushroom or other fungus than like a true flowering plant due to the color – or lack of color. However, it has a stem, bract-like scales in place of leaves, and a single flower at the end of the stem. The single flower gives it the species epithet – uniflora – which is a key difference between this species and Monotropa hypopitys the only other species in the Montropa genus. Monotropa hypopitys (Pinesap) has multiple flowers in a cluster on each stem.
Indian Pipe has roots through which it gathers its nourishment. The plant lacks chlorophyll but instead gets its nutrients through a mutually beneficial relationship with a fungus in the soil where it grows.
This is what I wrote about them last year –
A few days ago, when I was outside with our cat Sid, I noticed these strange looking flowers. My first impression was that they were the ghosts of roses past. Needless to say, I headed straight to Google, and discovered these are indeed called Ghost Flowers (also called Indian Pipes, Death Plants, Ice Plants, and Fairy Smoke). Not particularly rare, but not exactly common either. I love that they showed up so close to our house, and my outdoor ritual space.
Now, here are some shots from earlier this month, and today –