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A Group Of Wild Flowers
Wildflower Families:
 Introduction

 Wild Flower Families

 Poppy Family

 Arum Family

 Saxifrage Family

 Purslane Family

 Heath Family

 Wintergreen Family

 Indian Pipe Family

 Rose Family

 Read More Articles About: Wildflower Families

Indian Pipe Family

( Originally Published 1908 )

MONOTROPACEAE

WHO has not wondered at the strange, ghost-like beauty of the Indian Pipe as the plant rises from its bed of brown needles in the shadow of the pines. It seems to belong to the tribe of mushrooms and toadstools rather than to that of the flowering plants. But a little looking will show the organs of the flower in the bowl of the pipe, so that one must recognize its claim of kin-ship with the flowers. But one who knows that the flowering plants as a whole get their beauty through the action of sunlight on the green leaves will readily believe that this white plant is a parasite, robbing the roots of other plants of their sap in order that it may grow, or else, like the toadstools, sucking up the material of decaying plants and so becoming a saprophyte.

PINE SAP. This Indian Pipe was formerly included in the Heath family but it is so curious and distinctive that it is now placed in a family of its own which includes but two species—the Indian Pipe and the Pine Sap or False Beech Drops. The strange plants of the latter are often to be found in shady woods, being of a rather reddish hue, somewhat fragrant and generally from six to ten inches high. Both of these species are parasites upon the roots of trees, which accounts for their lack of the green coloring matter, called chlorophyll, which is characteristic of plants that get their own living from the earth and air.

Look ! white Indian pipes
On the green mosses lie !
Who has been smoking
Profanely so nigh?
Rebuked by the preacher
The mischief is stopped,
But the sinners, in haste,
Have their little pipes dropped.
Let the wind, with the fragrance
Of fern and black birch,
Blow the smell of the smoking
Clean out of the church!

Clara Smith.

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