Monotropa uniflora L.

one-flowered Indian-pipe

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Indian-pipe is a mycotroph, which is to say it is a parasitic plant that obtains all its nutrients by stealing them from a tree. It does this not by entering the host directly but through a fungal intermediary. This plant also has a variety of uses in Native American medicine.

Habitat

Forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
  • pink to red
  • white
Leaf type
  • NA
  • the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
  • NA
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • NA
  • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
  • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are six petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are three petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13 or more
  • 8
  • 9
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Fruit length
7–11 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther attachment
    the anther is attached near its midpoint to the filament
    Anther color
    the anthers show no hint of a pink, reddish or purplish tint
    Anther opening
    the anthers have small holes or openings at the tips
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Anther tube length
    0 mm
    Calyx growth after flowering
    the calyx does not grow to cover or partially cover the fruit
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpel hairs
    the carpels have no hairs
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cilia on petals
    the petal margins do not have cilia
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament length
    10–15 mm
    Filament surface
    • the filament has rough hairs or scales on it
    • the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower appearance
    the flowers appear at the same time as the leaves
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary, and lacks a hypanthium
    Flower length
    10–17 mm
    Flower number
    1
    Flower orientation
    the flower bends downwards or hangs downwards
    Flower petal color
    • pink to red
    • white
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is knob-like at the tip, and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has no hairs on it
    Hairs on inflorescence
    the axis of the inflorescence has no hairs on it
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Hypanthium length
    0 mm
    Inflorescence length
    50–300 mm
    Inflorescence one-sided
    • NA
    • the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Interior flower disk
    the flower has an interior disc
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    0
    Number of carpels
    4–6
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are six petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are three petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Perianth shape
    • the perianth is another shape
    • the perianth is campanulate (bell-shaped, with a tube about as long as wide, flaring at the mouth)
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal and sepal colors
    • pink to red
    • white
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows gradually or does not narrow at the base
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal glandular dots or scales
    no
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal length
    10–20 mm
    Petal nectaries
    the petals do not have nectaries
    Petal number
    3–6
    Petal shape
    the petal outline is obovate (roughly egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Petal tip shape
    • the petal tip is lobed or fringed
    • the petal tip is rounded
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Petal width
    5–15 mm
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the petals and sepals are similar
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal auricles
    the sepals have no auricles
    Sepal cilia
    the sepals do not have cilia
    Sepal color
    white
    Sepal features
    NA
    Sepal length
    7–10 mm
    Sepal number
    3–6
    Sepal orientation
    the sepals are curved outwards and downwards from the corolla
    Sepal relative length
    NA
    Sepal shape
    • the sepal outline is lanceolate (lance-shaped; narrow, gradually tapering from the base to the tip)
    • the sepal outline is oblong (rectangular, but with rounded ends)
    Sepal texture
    the sepals are fleshy or spongy
    Sepal tip shape
    • the sepal tip is acuminate (tapers to a very narrow point)
    • the sepal tip is acute (is sharply pointed)
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Spur number
    NA
    Stamen appendages
    stamen appendages are absent
    Stamen attachment
    the stamens are not attached to the petals or tepals
    Stamen lengths differ
    the stamen lengths are other than the choices given
    Stamen morphology
    the stamens within a cycle differ in length or width
    Stamen number
    • 10
    • 11
    • 12
    • 13 or more
    • 8
    • 9
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamen relative length
    anything
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Stigma position
    the stigmas are positioned at the tip of the style
    Style length
    2–7 mm
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Style relative length
    the stigma does not protrude beyond the mouth of the corolla
    Surface of ovary
    the ovary surface has no points, bumps or wrinkles
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    the capsule has five prominent ribs or wings
    Capsule splitting
    the capsule splits by five main valves, teeth or pores
    Carpel beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    7–11 mm
    Fruit length relative to sepals
    the fruit is longer than its associated sepals
    Fruit locules
    • five
    • four
    • six or more
    Fruit shape
    • the fruit is ellipsoid (widest in the middle and tapering to each end)
    • the fruit is spherical
    Fruit stalk orientation
    the fruits point upward or spread or curve outward
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Fruit width
    5–12 mm
    Hair type on fruit
    the hairs on the fruits are simple (not branched), don’t have glands, and are not woolly
    Hairs on fruit
    the fruits are not hairy
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Ovary stipe length
    0 mm
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has axile placentation, in which the ovules are attached where the septa of a compound ovary are united, usually on the central axis, or to the septa themselves
    Relative fruit length
    0
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Seed length
    0.5–1 mm
    Seed number
    Up to 100
    Seed relative length
    the seed is longer than it is wide
    Seed surface
    the seed is covered with reticulate markings (a netlike pattern due to splitting and rejoining of lines or ridges)
    Seeds comose
    no hairs
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    • NA
    • the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant does not have stolons
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is a parasite of fungi (mycoheterotrophic)
    Plant color
    the plant lacks green pigments, even on the leaves or young stems
    Plants darken when dry
    yes
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracteoles
    • the plant has bracteoles between the primary bracts and the flowers
    • there are no bracteoles on the plant
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Floral bracts
    the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Flower bract length
    10–20 mm
    Hairs on leaf stalk
    NA
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    NA
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    NA
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    • NA
    • no
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    • NA
    • the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    • NA
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    • NA
    • the leaf has no stalk
    • the leaf has no stalk and at the base it clasps the stem
    Leaf blade base shape
    NA
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    NA
    Leaf blade bloom
    • NA
    • the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    • NA
    • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade flatness
    • NA
    • the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade length
    5–15 mm
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    NA
    Leaf blade shape
    NA
    Leaf blade surface colors
    • NA
    • the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade texture
    NA
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    NA
    Leaf blade veins
    NA
    Leaf blade width
    0 mm
    Leaf duration
    • NA
    • the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf folding in bud
    NA
    Leaf form
    • NA
    • the leaves are small and thin and lack leaf stalks
    Leaf hair orientation
    NA
    Leaf sheath length
    0 mm
    Leaf shiny
    NA
    Leaf spines
    • NA
    • there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    • NA
    • the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    NA
    Leaf stalk base
    NA
    Leaf stalk length
    0 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    • NA
    • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf tip
    • NA
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is rounded, with no point
    Leaf tufts in axils
    NA
    Leaf type
    • NA
    • the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf types
    NA
    Leaf variation
    NA
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    NA
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    • NA
    • the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule edges
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf stalk
    NA
    Stipule length
    0 mm
    Stipule shape
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    forests
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Direction of stem hairs
    NA
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles so that it is roughly circular
    Flowering stem width
    0.1–1 mm
    Hair between stem nodes
    • NA
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    • NA
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    • NA
    • no
    Leaves on stem
    • the flowering stem has no leaves above the base
    • there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Length of hairs between stem nodes
    0 mm
    Plant height
    5–30 cm
    Stem bloom
    • NA
    • there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem hair distribution
    NA
    Stem nodes swollen
    NA
    Stem orientation
    • NA
    • the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem roughness between nodes
    • NA
    • the stem does not feel rough
    Stem spacing
    • NA
    • the plant is solitary, or a few plants are growing together
    Stem succulence
    NA
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    • NA
    • the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Hypopitys monotropa:
stem hairy, with 2-16 flowers in a raceme (vs. M. uniflora, with a stem without hairs, with a single flower).

Synonyms

  • Monotropa brittonii Small

Family

Ericaceae

Genus

Monotropa

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Monotropa uniflora L. N

one-flowered Indian-pipe. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Deciduous to mixed evergreen-deciduous forests.