Ghost Pipe


Hiking along the Ice Age Trail Near Whitewater Wisconsin and I came across these Ghost pipes. I had not ever seen them before or more likely, overlooked them.

Nestled within serene woodlands and shaded groves lies a botanical treasure that has captured the fascination of both nature enthusiasts and researchers—the Ghost Pipe.

This elusive plant, Monotropa uniflora, stands at a modest height of 6 to 10 inches. Its delicate form showcases a pale, almost translucent, waxy texture, leading to its fitting description,  “Ghost Pipe.”

The Ghost Pipe’s allure extends beyond its appearance. It defies convention by not having any chlorophyll, the green pigment that typically drives photosynthesis in plants. Instead, it has evolved a captivating survival strategy, forming a unique parasitic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. This symbiotic dance allows the Ghost Pipe to tap into the underground network of fungi for sustenance—a distinctive adaptation that sets it apart from its botanical counterparts.




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