This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Scapose succulent white yellowish or red bracted herbs, with a solitary nodding flower, the capsule becoming erect. Sepals 2-4, deciduous. Petals 5 or 6, oblong, somewhat dilated at apex, erect, not saccate at the base, tardily deciduous. Stamens 10-12; filaments subulate-filiform; anthers short, peltate, horizontal, opening at first by 2 transverse chinks, becoming transversely 2-valved. Disk 10-12-toothed, confluent with the base of the ovary. Ovary 5-celled; style short, thick; stigma funnelform, its margin obscurely crenate, not ciliate. Capsule 5-celled, 5-valved, many-seeded. Seeds minute, the testa produced at each end. [Greek, once-turned.]
Two species, natives of North America, Mexico, Colombia, Japan and the Himalayas. The following typical one is the only one known in North America.
Monotropa uniflora L. Sp. Pl. 387. 1753.
Scapes white, glabrous, usually clustered, 4-10' high from a mass of matted brittle roots, turning dark in drying. Flower terminal, inodorous, nodding, oblong-campanulate, 1/2'-1' long, the fruit becoming erect; petals 4-5 (rarely 6), puberulent within, white, rather longer than the usually 10 stamens; filaments pubescent; ovary ovoid, acute, narrowed into the short style; capsule erect, obtusely angled, 5"-8" high, 4"-5" in diameter.
In moist rich woods, Anticosti to Florida, west to Washington and California, almost throughout temperate and warm North America and in Mexico. Ascends to 4200 ft. in North Carolina. Also in Japan and the Himalayas. Whole plant occasionally pink or red. American ice-plant. Ghost-flower, Corpse-plant. Eyebright. Convulsion-weed or -root. Dutchman's-pipe. Fit-root plant. Bird's-nest or pipe-plant. Fairy-smoke. June-Aug.