One of Nature’s Spookiest Plants

Ghost pipe (Monotropa uniflora) is one of nature’s spookiest plants, but also a species native to Ontario and much of North America. Like ghosts of the forest, they emerge as a translucent white flower. Since they are a parasitic plant, ghost pipe does not depend on light for photosynthesis and lacks chlorophyll. This means it can grow in darkness and is typically found in mature, moist, shaded woods. Ghost pipe consumes nutrients and carbohydrates from tree roots via a relationship with myccorhizal fungi in the genera Russula and Lactarius. This strange and creepy native plant shows us how there is more lurking below the soil’s surface.

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