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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Mark Gardiner     (Photo ID #66493)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Monotropa hypopithys
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
688 25 1760
Slope Gradient (%)
28 0 150

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

248 10 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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