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Indian Pipe Plant

An Indian pipe
bobistraveling [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr
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An Indian pipe

Monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost plant (or ghost pipe), or Indian pipe, is an herbaceous perennial plant native to temperate regions of Asia, North America and northern South America. 

Unlike most plants, it does not contain chlorophyll. It is parasitic, and more specifically a mycoheterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees.

Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.