Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ghost Plant

Wandering lonely in the deep, dark wood, a traveler knelt for a moment 'midst the massive beeches when she spied nearby a tiny pair of pale and lovely ghosts.Transfixed, she pondered their cold, delicate features. Flowers, no doubt, their form declared; but no hint of green colored their existence here in the shadows. As if raised from the remains of some tragic, long-lost princess, these corpse flowers bowed their precious heads in silent vigil, oblivious to the intruder's gaze. 

Monotropa uniflora a.k.a Ghost Plant, Corpse Plant, Indian Pipes, Ice Plant

Cousin to the the azaleas, rhododendrons and blueberries in the Heath family, this little woodland mystery is a flowering plant, not a fungus, though its total lack of chlorophyll leads many to that mistaken conclusion.

Parasitic on the mycelium of russula mushrooms that are themselves in a mycorrhyzal relationship with the American Beech trees and Loblolly Pines, these lovely little vampires draw life from the trees.

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