Ghost Plants (monotropa uniflora) have nearly translucent white stems with drooping, billowy caps that peek out of dark places in the undergrowth. They look like fungi, but actually belong to the blueberry family. Ghost plants pop up after a rainy spell just as fungi do. They actually feed off mycorrhizal fungi, an underground network of fungi that connects trees to one another and to other plants. The photosynthesis of trees sends carbon through the mycorrhizal fungi to the ghost plants.
The ghost plant’s shape accounts for its other common name, Indian Pipe. Inside the pipe’s chamber, there’s a beautiful yellow flower.
For more information on non-photosynthetic (heterotrophic) flowering plants, check out Tom Volk’s blog.