E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Monotropa hypopithys L.
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)
(Previously in Monotropaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Mark Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #66493)

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Distribution of Monotropa hypopithys
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a fleshy root mass; parasites on mycorrhizal fungi associated with trees; "stems" erect, simple, 5-30 cm tall, pinkish to straw-coloured, drying to black; persistent after seed dispersal; without chlorophyll.
Mostly near bottom of stem, scale-like, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, thick, margins entire or fringed with coarse hairs.
Several to many in terminal, raceme-like inflorescence, usually bent over when flowering, becoming erect in fruit; flower stalks 3-6 mm long; petals 10-14 mm long, erect, overlapping one another, usually hairy on one or both surfaces, sometimes glabrous, somewhat pouch-like at base; calyces 4-9 mm long, margins of lobes hairy; stamens shorter than the corolla; styles 1-2 mm wide, hairy; stigmas slightly lobed.
Capsules, nearly globe-shaped, 5-10 mm long.
Stem and leaves can be considered part of the inflorescence.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic forests in the montane zone; frequent in SW BC, infrequent in SC BC and northward to 57æN; circumboreal, N to SE AK, E to NF, and S to CA, MX, and FL; Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Monotropa hypopithys

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 25 688 1760
Slope Gradient (%) 0 28 150
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 248 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(116), ESSF(14), ICH(68), IDF(3), MH(10), MS(11), SBPS(2), SBS(11)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Monotropa hypopitys L.
Hypopitys americana (DC.) Small
Hypopitys fimbriata (A. Gray) Howell
Hypopitys insignata E.P. Bicknell
Hypopitys lanuginosa (Michx.) Nutt.
Hypopitys latisquama Rydb.
Hypopitys monotropa Crantz
Monotropa hypopithys subsp. lanuginosa (Michx.) H. Hara
Monotropa hypopithys var. americana (DC.) Domin
Monotropa hypopithys var. latisquama (Rydb.) Kearney & Peebles
Monotropa hypopithys var. rubra (Torr.) Farw.
Monotropa lanuginosa Michx.
Monotropa latisquama (Rydb.) Hultén

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References