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Monotropa uniflora

Template:Italic title Template:Taxobox Monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost plant (or ghost pipe), Indian pipe or corpse plant, is an herbaceous perennial plant native to temperate regions of Udmurtiya in European Russia, Asia, North America and northern South America, but with large gaps between areas.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name="Sullivan2018">Template:Cite web</ref> It was formerly classified in the family Monotropaceae, but is now included within the Ericaceae. It is of ephemeral occurrence, depending on the right conditions (moisture after a dry period) to appear full grown within a couple of days.

Unlike most plants, it is white and does not contain chlorophyll. Instead of generating energy from sunlight, it is parasitic, more specifically a mycoheterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees. Since it is not dependent on sunlight to grow, it can grow in very dark environments as in the understory of dense forest. It is often associated with beech trees.<ref>http://www.psu.edu/dept/nkbiology/naturetrail/speciespages/indianpipe.htm</ref> The complex relationship that allows this plant to grow also makes propagation difficult.

The plant is sometimes completely waxy white, but often has black flecks or pale pink coloration.<ref>David Matthews "Indian Pipes, Ithaca NY"</ref> Rare variants may have a deep red color.

The stems reach heights of Template:Convert, sheathed with highly reduced leaves Template:Convert long, best identified as scales or bracts. These structures are small, thin, and translucent; they do not have petioles but instead extend in a sheath-like manner out of the stem. As its scientific name suggests, and unlike the related Monotropa hypopitys (but like the close relation Monotropastrum humile), the stems bear a single flower Template:Convert long, with 3–8 translucent petals, 10–12 stamens and a single pistil.<ref name="Klinkenberg2017">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="WTU Herbarium2018">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="Jepson">Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> It flowers from early summer to early autumn, often a few days after rainfall. The fruit, an oval capsule-like structure, enlarges and becomes upright when the seeds mature, at this point stem and capsule looking desiccated and dark brown or black.

Like most mycoheterotrophic plants, M. uniflora associates with a small range of fungal hosts, all of them members of Russulaceae.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

The plant has been used as a nervine in western herbal medicine since the late nineteenth century.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>




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