"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

February 9, 2010

February 9 - Monotropa uniflora

Monotropa uniflora, also known as the Indian Pipe plant or the Ghost Plant, is a kind of parasitic plant known as a myco-heterotroph. These plants use the symbiotic fungi that associate with other plants, in this case trees, to get their nutrients. Because they do not need to photosynthesize themselves, they can grow in very dark conditions. At present, there is just a single species described, which has a wide, but highly discontinuous distribution in North America, Central America, and eastern Asia, but a recent paper based on DNA sequences from the plants has suggested that these are distinct evolutionary lineages.

Photo from here.


  1. I came across Monatropa uniflora in a local park a couple of years ago. In the pictures I have the plant is more white than pink.

  2. Very cool! The flowers range from pure white to almost red.

  3. I've seen these along the Appalachian Trail in New York but couldn't figure out what they were. Now I know!