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Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora L.)

Also known as ghost plant, Indianpipe, Indian pipe.

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Ghost Pipe
Photo © Steven Lamonde, CC BY 4.0.


A perennial that is parasitic on mycorrhizal fungi, indirectly parasitic on trees.

Range - Expand

Native or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.


Found in rich deciduous forests and occasionally mixed deciduous-coniferous forests, on sites with thick humus. This species is dependent on fungi of the Russulaceae family, which in turn are mycorrhizal, and only occurs where these fungi are found, usually under a canopy dominated by maples and/or oaks.

It does not photosynthesize and can be found in any level of shade.


We prefer the common name "ghost pipe" because it is both unambiguous and self-explanatory with respect to this plant's appearance. The common name "ghost plant" also refers to Graptopetalum paraguayense, a small evergreen succulent, which does not occur in the wild in North America, but is sometimes grown as a houseplant. The term "indian pipe" is also ambiguous as "Indian" can refer either to Native Americans or to the country of India, and this species is native to the Americas and not India.

Monotropa uniflora (Indian Pipe) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Monotropa uniflora (Indianpipe) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Monotropa uniflora | Go Botany (About This Site)

Monotropa uniflora | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Monotropa uniflora | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Monotropa uniflora | Flora of North America (About This Site)

Monotropa uniflora | Missouri Plants (About This Site)

Indian Pipe | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)

Monotropa uniflora (Indian Pipe) | Minnesota Wildflowers (About This Site)

Photo gallery

Photo © Steven Lamonde, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Steven Lamonde, CC BY 4.0.