Adirondack Wildflowers:  Indian Pipe in bloom at the Paul Smiths VIC (29 July 2011)

Adirondack Wildflowers:
Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Indian Pipe blooming at the Paul Smiths VIC (28 July 2012)Adirondack Wildflowers: Indian Pipe blooming at the Paul Smiths VIC (28 July 2012)

Indian Pipe is an Adirondack wildflower with a thick, translucent stem ending in a white nodding flower. It grows about ten inches tall. A few plants may be a pale salmon pink. After flowering, the stem becomes upright and the flower is replaced by a seed capsule; the whole plant becomes dark brown or black. Indian Pipe is unable to synthesize its own food due to a lack of chlorophyll. The plant derives its nourishment from decayed organic material through a fungal relationship associated with the roots.

The plant reportedly is edible, tasteless when raw, but with a taste like asparagus when cooked. The plant has been used by some native North American Indian tribes for medicinal purposes. Cherokee tribes, for instance, reportedly used the pulverized root as an anticonvulsive, while the Mohegans used an infusion of the root or leaves as an analgesic.

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Indian Pipe in bloom at the Paul Smiths VIC (29 July 2011)Adirondack Wildflowers: Indian Pipe in bloom at the Paul Smiths VIC (29 July 2011)

Indian Pipe grows in woodland humus, in deeply shaded locations, from Northwestern California to Alaska; east across the northern part of the western and most of the eastern United States.

Indian Pipe may be found on many of the trails at the Paul Smiths VIC. It usually begins blooming in July at the VIC.

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Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.