Monotropa hypopithys L.
Hypopitys americana (DC.) Small
Hypopitys fimbriata (A. Gray) Howell
Hypopitys insignata E.P. Bicknell
Hypopitys lanuginosa (Michx.) Nutt.
Hypopitys latisquama Rydb.
Hypopitys monotropa Crantz
Monotropa hypopithys L. ssp. lanuginosa (Michx.) H. Hara
Monotropa hypopithys L. var. americana (DC.) Domin
Monotropa hypopithys L. var. latisquama (Rydb.) Kearney & Peebles
Monotropa hypopithys L. var. rubra (Torr.) Farw.
Monotropa lanuginosa Michx.
Monotropa latisquama (Rydb.) Hultén
Pinesap, Dutchman’s Pipe, Yellow Bird’s-nest, False Beech-drops
Pinesap is a North American native. How does a pale cream-colored (reddish or brown in the fall) plant get its energy? It isn’t green (or purple), so it cannot perform photosynthesis. Instead, it saphrophytic—it obtains energy from decaying plant matter and from mycelia, the underground rootlike network of fungi. It is found on shaded forest floors where its ability to thrive without light gives it an advantage. These are called pinesap because they favor the acid soil of pine forest floors.
Identification: Plants reach 4-12" (10-30 cm) in height, unfolding like fiddleheads from the ground. Flowers are cream-colored, about ¼-½" (6.3-12 mm) in size, bell shaped, in clusters of about a dozen, atop a pale leafless stem. Actually there are alternate leaves, but they are small (about ¼" (6.3 mm)), closely attached to the stem, and triangular in shape. In the fall, plants may be tinged with bright red. Flowers appear in June-October.
Monotropa hypopithys at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium
Monotropa hypopithys on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site
Monotropa hypopithys on Wikipedia
Monotropa hypopithys on Turner Photographics' Wildflowers site
Monotropa hypopithys on Calflora
Monotropa hypopithys at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Monotropa hypopithys description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Oct 2018.