snowpack

Close-up of dead ghost plants (Monotropa uniflora) in the snow.

the afterlife
of ghost plants


Monotropa uniflora is a woodland myco-heterotroph with several common names, including Indian pipes, corpse plants, and ghost plants. Ghostly pale when alive, after the pipe-shaped flowers are pollinated they turn upwards and darken. The Wikipedia article notes “It is of ephemeral occurrence, depending on the right conditions (moisture after a dry period) to appear full grown within a couple of days.” But unlike many ephemeral wildflowers, it doesn’t just melt away again.