“Indian Pipe” – Monotropa uniflora
“Sometimes all you need in your life is anything strange because strange things can revive your soul just like a cold water freshening your pale face with every splash!”
― Mehmet Murat Ildan
I thought I had missed them. A week ago, as I was hiking a local conservation area, I came across a patch of Indian Pipes, a very strange plant and a bit of a rarity around here. Alas, they were past their prime and already turning black. Not photo worthy.
Earlier today, as I made a brief foray into a local forest, I was surprised to find numerous clusters of Indian Pipe still in great condition. I was even more surprised to find them in bloom. Honestly, I did not know they bloomed, as I have never seen them at this stage and in such fine condition. I made several images in the highly variable light of the pine forest and this was the best of the series. Generally, the heads of the Indian Pipe are nodding, thus the name: Monotropa, from Greek monos, meaning “one” and tropos, meaning “turn”. I was also surprised by the pink colouration, as these plants lack chlorophyll, which is what gives plants their green colour. These odd plants get their nutrients through a mycorrhizal relationship with a fungus, which in turn gets its nutrients for local trees. It’s this complex relationship that has led to the Indian Pipes lack of chlorophyll, they don’t need it.
As I said, there were many clusters of this usually rare plant to be found, likely brought on by the warm, wet summer we have had. Usually, I have to look hard to find even a single plant, at the right time of year. Fortunately, I had my macro lense and tripod with me, so I was able to collect a nice sharp image, with good depth of field.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/6 sec, f/22.0, ISO 100