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Ghost Flowers

Ghost Flowers
Photo Information
Copyright: Maxime Cloutier (MaxCloutier13) (14)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-02
Categories: Flowers
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/8 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-07-30 9:53
Viewed: 5048
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A most peculiar plant, the Monotropa Uniflora also goes by many names. Indian pipe, dutchman pipe, fairy smoke, ghost plant, corpse plant, broomrape, convulsion-root, fitstroot. The Latin name simply means “one turn, one flower” referring to the way the flowers bend at the end of their stalks.

This plant is interesting for many reasons.

It has a white waxy appearance and does not produce chlorophyll. It can also be black and pink. It is very delicate, and will easily bruise, blackening almost instantly.

It is usually considered a parasite but is more specifically a myco-heterotroph. To survive, it hijacks the mycorrhizal relationship between a tree (usually pine and beech around here) and a fungus of the Russulaceae family. The plant takes its sustenance from the tree/fungus relationship, and in return gives back essential sugars benefitial to both of its partners. This specificity is what makes this plant so scarce, and impossible to cultivate.

The native's legends about the pipe plant are many. They usually refer to spirits being contained in the flowers, or to patches of ghost plant thriving on burial grounds. Natives have used the plant medicinally to treat convulsions and vision problems for centuries. It does contain methyl salicylate, so it's use as a form of aspirin is plausible.

The monotropa uniflora has a very disjunct geographical distribution. It can be found in most of North-America, in Central South-America and in Eastern Asia, but with wide gaps in between. This behavior is still unexplained.

shree, NinaM, Black44, Nephrotome2, Wotan, CatherineD, Pitoncle has marked this note useful
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To Nephrotome2: Merci!MaxCloutier13 2 07-31 00:50
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Critiques [Translate]

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  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2009-07-30 10:56]

Bonjour Maxime, bienvenue sur TN! J'adore cette plante que tu nous présentes et j'ai fait quelques photos de celle-ci la semaine dernière, en me promenant dans la forêt. Elles étaient rosées. Je les mettrai peut-être sur TrekNature. En ce qui concerne ta prise de vue, j'aime le point de vue à la même hauteur que la fleur. J'aurais peut-être aimé voir le pied de la plante, mais c'est parfait comme c'est tout de même. Peut-être aussi les mettre verticales plutôt que penchées. Ce sont là mes suggestions mais finalement, non seulement la photo est très belle, mais les informations que tu apportes sont très intéressantes. J'aime lire ce genre d'information. Merci beaucoup et amuse-toi bien sur ce site!


Hola Maxime

Una buena imagen de esta planta tan rara, siendo la primera vez que la veo y escucho.

Una explicación interesante e util. Gracias y felicidades por la captura.

Un saludo Antonio y bienvenido a TN.

Hello Maxime,

Welcome at TN. This is an awfully weird flower, not at all like the broomrapes we have here, it looks a bit like the ghost orchid, but not quite. Very interesting flower.
Being dutch i wouldn't smoke that pipe


Hi Maxime,
Very interesting plant and very useful note.
We have other species of broomrape here. Also symbiote and without chlorophyl. But they look very different and are far from being that beautiful.
The pic could have been technically better:
- you truncated the lower part of the plant.
- too centered. Do you know the photography rule of thirds?
- as the plant is vertical and narrow, a vertical format would have been more appropriate.
- ISO is too high. You don't need a tripod or a flash to avoid motion blur. Laying the camera on a stone or a bag is pretty efficient to allow ISO 100.
- focus should have been done on the flower in the center. the stem is much less relevant.

Thanks a lot for bringing this majestic flower here on TN.

Salut Maxime,
Bienvenue sur TN avec cette fleur vraiment intéressante et inhabituelle, accompagnée d'une note détaillée. Les remarques de Nephrotome sont pertinentes: je pense que tu auras l'occasion de développer tes connaissances en matière de plantes (ou animaux) et de photographie sur ce site convivial. Le virus TrekNature est en tout cas bien plus tenace que celui de la grippe! Amicalement,

Interesting plant. It's funny to see one that's not green with chlorophyll. TFS Trevor

Bonjour Maxime,
Bienvenue sur TN !!!
En découvrant la miniature j'ai pensé, bien évidemment à tort, à une publication en noir et blanc !!!
Très belle présentation des sujets dans leur environnement avec une excellente opposition sur l'arrière plan.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

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