Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora)
This curious plant has no chlorophyll and therefore is incapable of photosynthesis. It is, in fact, a saprophyte, obtaining its nourishment from decaying plant material in the soil. Only the fleshy, ghost-like, flowers appear above ground, nodding on 6-8" stems. Would you have guessed that Indian pipes is in the heath family (Ericaceae), the same family as azaleas and blueberries? Indian pipes is actually widespread in eastern North America, usually in dry woods and scrub. Look for its strange flowers amongst the fallen leaves in October and November.