Indian-pipe

By William T. Hathaway

Indian-pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

I feel sure that most of us can recall having seen that ghostly little plant that seemed to faintly glow in the forest shadows. After all, its choice habitat is usually on woodland humus and decaying organic matter.

The Indian-pipe (Monotropa uniflora) is a waxy, fleshy little plant that is white to reddish in color. It has scales and bracts instead of leaves and is parasitic on decomposing vegetable matter. The terminal flowers are at first nodding, becoming erect as seeds develop. Corpse-plant, Ghost-flower, Convulsion-root, and Fits-root are among its many colloquial names.

In times past early settlers and American Indians had many medicinal uses for this plant.



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