Parasitic species of moist to mesic forests. Distinctive totally white plants with a solitary white flower, turning black as it ages.
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.
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.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
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)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Monotropa brittonii Small
1. Plants pinkish to straw-coloured; inflorescence of several to many flowers in terminal clusters; petals 4, 10-14 mm long; sepals 4...........................M. hypopithys
1. Plants waxy-white; inflorescence of a single terminal flower; petals usually 5, 15-20 mm long; sepals lacking but upper bracts sepal-like...........................M. uniflora
Source: Illustrated Flora of British Columbia