(Hypopitis Hypopitis; Monolropa Hypopitis of Gray) Indian-pipe


Flowers - Tawny, yellow,ecru, brownish pink, reddish, or bright

crimson, fragrant, about 1/2 in. long; oblong bell-shaped; borne

in a one-sided, terminal, slightly drooping raceme, becoming

erect after maturity. Scapes: Clustered from a dense mass of

fleshy, fibrous roots; 4 to 12 in. tall, scaly bracted, the

bractlets resembling the sepals. Leaves: None.

Preferred Habitat - Dry woods, especially under fir, beech, and

oak trees.

Flowering Season - June-October.

Distribution - Florida and Arizona, far northward into British

Possessions. Europe and Asia.

Branded a sinner, through its loss of leaves and honest green

coloring matter (chlorophyll), the pine sap stands among the

disreputable 'gang' of thieves that includes its next of kin the

Indian-pipe, the broom-rape, dodder, coral-root, and beech-drops

(q.v.). Degenerates like these, although members of highly

respectable, industrious, virtuous families, would appear to be

as low in the vegetable kingdom as any fungus, were it not for

the flowers they still bear. Petty larceny, no greater than the

foxglove's at first, then greater and greater thefts, finally

lead to ruin, until the pine-sap parasite either sucks its food

from the roots of the trees under which it takes up its abode, or

absorbs, like a ghoulish saprophyte, the products of vegetable

decay. A plant that does not manufacture its own dinner has no

need of chlorophyll and leaves, for assimilation of crude food

can take place only in those cells which contain the vital green.

This substance, universally found in plants that grub in the soil

and literally sweat for their daily bread, acts also as a

moderator of respiration by its absorptive influence on light,

and hence allows the elimination of carbon dioxide to go on in

the cells which contain it. Fungi and these degenerates which

lack chlorophyll usually grow in dark, shady woods.

Within each little fragrant pine-sap blossom a fringe of hairs,

radiating from the style, forms a stockade against short-tongued

insects that fain would pilfer from the bees. As the plant grows

old, whatever charm it had in youth disappears, when an

unwholesome mold overspreads its features.


PICKEREL WEED PINK OR PALE CORYDALIS facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail