Montana Outdoors

July 19, 2016

An afternoon of Indian Pipes

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 10:40 pm

On a short hike this afternoon I encountered several dozen groups of Indian Pipes. They are not rare, but live in forested areas in deep shade and can be easily overlooked. It was unusual to see so many along a short (perhaps half a mile) piece of trail. They usually grow in groups and have many attractive poses. And so I got carried away with photos.

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Indian Pipe

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes

The common name ‘Indian Pipe’ refers to the pipe-like flowering stalks. It is also called ‘Ghost Flower’ and is in a leafless, saprophytic subfamily of Monotropae. They do not have chlorophyll or green leaves and do not manufacture their own food, obtaining food instead from decaying material in the tree litter and humus. They do not depend on the sun and are usually found in the deep shade of coniferous forests. While their pretty little faces always point straight down (and therefore are very difficult to photograph), the fruit eventually points straight up!

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September 15, 2012

Evans Lake (3) – The Flowers

Somewhat unusual for that part of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains in summer, there were only a few flowers in bloom, perhaps because of the hot, dry conditions this summer.

Indian-Pipe

Indian-Pipe, Monotropa uniflora, a Saprophytic perennial

Update:

In a comment, I mentioned the thought that due to the rather mysterious aura of the Indian Pipes, there must be some Indian legends about them. Linda from The Task at Hand has given me permission to include the following legend which she received from a friend:

“According to legend, a long time ago, before selfishness came into the world, the Cherokee people were happy sharing the hunting and fishing places with their neighbors. All this changed when Selfishness came into the world and man began to quarrel. The Cherokee Indians quarreled with tribes on the east. Finally the chiefs of several tribes met in council to try to settle the dispute. They smoked the pipe and continued to quarrel for seven days and seven nights. This displeased the Great Spirit because people are not supposed to smoke the pipe until they make peace. As he looked upon the old men with heads bowed, he decided to do something to remind people to smoke the pipe only at the time they make peace.

The Great Spirit turned the old men into greyish flowers now called ~Indian Pipes~ and he made them grow where friends and relatives had quarreled. He made the smoke hang over these mountains until all the people all over the world learn to live together in peace.”

Thanks Linda!

Western Rattlesnake Plantain

Rattlesnake Plantain, Goodyera oblongifolia, an Orchid

Indian Hellebore

Indian Hellebore, Veratrum viride, a member of the Lily family

Scouler's St. Johnswort, Norton's St. Johnswort

Scouler's St. Johnswort, Norton's St. Johnswort

Scouler’s St. Johnswort, Norton’s St. Johnswort, Hypericum scouleri

Self-Heal

Self-Heal, Prunella vulgaris, Mint family

Hooded Ladies'-tresses

Hooded Ladies'-tresses

Hooded Ladies’-tresses, Spiranthes romanzoffiana, an Orchid

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