Pyrolaceae (Wintergreen Family)
General - a perennial, fleshy, waxy-white or rarely pinkish (blackens with age), from fleshy ball of small roots; flowering stems single or in clusters, unbranched; growing 5 - 30 cm tall.
Leaves - alternate, linear to oval, fleshy, scale-like, up to 1 cm long.
Flowers - single; nodding at first, white, narrowly bell-shaped; usually 5 petals erect, 15 - 20 mm long, inner surface hairyl; appearing late-summer.
Fruit - erect, oval to circular capsules, 5 - 7 mm wide, brown, split open when mature; many seeds.
Rich woodland; rare and scattered across southern boreal forest, north to Lake Athabasca.
The common name 'Indian-pipe' refers to the pipe-like flowers. It is also called "Ghost-flower" and "Corpse plant" - names inspired by the unusual colour and texture of the plant. Indian-pipe has been called "Ice plant" because it resembles frozen jelly, and 'melts' when handled. Monotropa comes from the Greek monos, 'one', and tropos, 'direction', in reference to the flowers, which turn to one side.
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