Monday, August 29, 2011

Monotropa hypopithys, Pinesap

A few weeks ago Pete Grube and I were scouting for unusual plants in a swamp forest at the Indiana Dunes State Park and Pete discovered a colony of the elusive little Pinesap. This plant lacks chlorophyll and derives its nutriment without photosynthesis, making it well-suited for deep shade. Long thought to be a saprophyte, it is now considered myco-heterotrophic, living in association with soil fungi. It has a special affinity for oak woods with abundant rotting leaf litter, and such woods often are inhabited by the closely related Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora), as well as several orchids of late summer and fall. When heavy rains occur in August, look for these mysterious little plants a few days later.


Pete said...

Nicely photographed

Keith said...

Thanks Pete. Nice find!

Microbes said...

Did you take these pictures? Wow nice great photography of a rare her-barium.