So the normally hanging flowers of one of my Indian Pipe clusters that turned upright appear to have turn into seed pods for sure. This is what happens at the end of their lifespan. So amazing to witness in person.
Monotropa uniflora is a herbaceous perennial plant. This is not a fungus as it is often confused but a parasitic plant. It is native to temperate regions of Asia, North America and northern South America, but with large gaps between areas. It is generally scarce or rare in occurrence but is common or even ubiquitous in some areas, such as many parts of eastern North America.
Unlike most plants, it is white and does not contain chlorophyll. Instead of generating energy from sunlight, it is parasitic, more specifically a myco-heterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees. Since it is not dependent on sunlight to grow, it can grow in very dark environments as in the understory of dense forest. The complex relationship that allows this plant to grow also makes propagation difficult.
The plant can’t be picked because its flesh turns black when cut or even bruised. It also oozes a clear, gelatinous substance when picked. Due to these, the Indian pipe is called Ghost flower, Corpse plant, American Iceplant & Fairy-smoke. It was used as a medicine, first by American Indians. They used it as an eye lotion which gave rise to the name Eyebright. Americans of the last century treated spasms, fainting spells, and nervous conditions with it which gave rise to the names Convulsion root, Fitroot & Convulsion weed.