Friday, August 24, 2012
The following is from my friend Emily (it is good to have a botanist as a friend):
Monotropa uniflora, ghost pipe, corpse plant, or indian pipe. COOL! It's pretty interesting, and not very common! A non-photosynthetic plant that doesn't have chlorophyll to give it the normal green color, it doesn't get energy from light like most green photosynthetic plants do. Instead, it's a saprophyte - kind of like a parasite, but instead of living off of other living things (like a parasite) it lives off of dead things - rotting trees or other plants or animals. More recent research hypothesizes that these plants have a symbiotic relationship with fungus. Because it doesn't get it's energy from the sun, it can grown in deep forest. Monotropa uniflora is in the Blueberry family, the Ericaceae, most of which have pendant (hanging) pale flowers. Other pacific northwest saprophytic plants include more commonly seen Pterospora (pinedrops), also in the Ericaceae family, and Coralrhyza (coral roots), an orchid.