Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Ghost Plant


I found this odd plant growing along the side of my driveway this morning. It goes by several names: monotropa uniflora, ghost plant, ghost pipe, Indian pipe, and corpse plant.

It does look rather ghostly without its green chlorophyll, but  more striking than that is the shape. I’ve only ever known it as Indian pipe, probably named for its shape similar to the traditional Indian peace pipe.

I’ve always found the Indian pipe fascinating because it is so different from most other plants. I thought it was a fungus, like a mushroom, but apparently it is considered to be in the family of Ericae, the heathers. I can’t see the connection, but I trust Wikipedia to have given me the correct information.

But the Indian pipe is parasitic on fungi, deriving its energy from the root systems of fungi rather than from sunlight. It can pop up very quickly after a rain. We did have quite a downpour yesterday and here they are!


By the way, you might have noticed that it is surrounded by Canada’s symbol, the “maple leaf forever,” looking a bit ratty around the edges, and no wonder, the way things are going.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

45 thoughts on “Ghost Plant

  1. This is amazing, Anneli. Thanks for the education! Such an odd plant yet it’s a beauty too. God bless Canada! 🇨🇦🥰

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is fascinating. I’ve known about this plant, but only as a spring ephemeral. I couldn’t figure out why it was popping up for you now, and then I remembered: latitude!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never seen that before. Now I have.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG I saw something like this growing in our flower bed this morning. We had a lot of rain yesterday. I’d never seen anything like it and I’m thinking it’s related to the bagged mulch we recently put down. One year we got a weird plant that looked like shrimp cocktail. So glad I saw this post!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A very odd-looking plant, indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I´ve never seen this interesting plant in my life. To me it looks like little ghosts. Thanks for the pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Quite unusual, indeed. At first glance, it look like wet toilet paper.😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What an interesting plant, Anneli! I’ve never seen nor heard of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t know if I’ve seen those around, Anneli. They’re kind of beautiful in their ghostly way. And Canada’s been doing pretty well compared to the US. They should close the border if they haven’t already! Be well, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am new here in your blog, I don’t know where you live, but you have a Finnish name, Anneli. We have a plant looking much the same as this Indian pipe, it is called a pine flower, the color is yellowish, not so white as yours. It doesn’t grow every year and needs pines trees growing near.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We used to find these at our cottage in the Halliburton Highlands in Ontario. I have never seen one here in BC. They always intrigued me.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is a strange looking plant, interesting post.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. This is a beautiful plant. It is like the ghost of Snowdrops past. Fascinating!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. LOL! Yes, it is an odd one!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a different plant never heard about thanks for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

  16. ‘Ghost’ describes it well…

    Liked by 2 people

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