Letter to the Editor: Clarification About Indian/Ghost Pipe Plant

~ Submitted by Virginia Steel

In the July 29 article in the Bedford Citizen about fungi, with its excellent pictures, the inclusion of Indian/ghost pipe would imply that this is a fungus.  It is not.

Although it has no chlorophyll, it is a flowering plant, with a stem, leaves (very short), and a blossom.  It is parasitic on a fungus that is associated with tree roots, most commonly roots of beech trees.

The tree uses photosynthesis to make “food” which the fungus transports throughout its threadlike tissues among the tree roots, and which the parasitic plants “steal”.

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