Indian Pipe

I’m walking through a forest in Virginia. The trees here are magnificent. They are so much taller than I’m used to.

McLean Forest - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

In the deep shade of the trees I see something strange, ghostly and white. I know what it is instantly because it’s completely white, with white stems and white flowers. It’s a parasitic plant.

Monotropa uniflora - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s Monotropa uniflora, which is known here as Ghost Plant, Ghost Pipe, Indian Pipe or the Corpse Plant. All are such great names. It has an amazing method of living. It lives connected to a fungus which grows in association with a tree. The tree and the fungus, and the fungus and the Indian Pipe, are so closely connected to each other that you need to use a microscope to see each of them.

Monotropa uniflora - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Ghost Pipes are perfect examples of how much variety there is in life and just how strange it can be

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