Monotropa uniflora L.
ghost pipe
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)
(Previously in Monotropaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Rosemary Taylor     (Photo ID #25686)


E-Flora BC Static Map

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


Parasitic species of moist to mesic forests. Distinctive totally white plants with a solitary white flower, turning black as it ages.

Species Information

Perennial herb from a fleshy root mass; parasites on mycorrhizal fungi associated with trees; "stems" many, erect, simple, 5-30 cm tall, waxy-white, blackening with age; persistent after seed dispersal; without chlorophyll.
Scale-like, linear or lanceolate to egg-shaped, up to 10 mm long; entire or somewhat wavy-margined.
Inflorescence a terminal, solitary flower, curved to one side or even drooping, becoming erect in fruit; calyces and corollas similar; corollas narrowly bell-shaped, 15-20 mm long, the petals 5, pouch-like at the base, oblong spoon-shaped, more or less hairy within; calyces of 2 to 4 bract-like sepals or lacking; stamens shorter than the corolla; styles 2-5 mm wide; stigmas discoid-lobed.
Capsules, erect, nearly globe-shaped, 5-7 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 uniflora

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)
455 0 1926
Slope Gradient (%)
19 0 150

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

240 15 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 2 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

CDF(28), CWH(45), ESSF(4), ICH(46), IDF(6), MS(2), PP(1), SBS(13)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to moist forests in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in extreme SW BC, infrequent in SC BC, and rare in C BC; N to SE AK, E to NF, and S to CA, MX, and FL; Central America; Asia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Monotropa brittonii Small