Flowers: terminal; solitary; nodding; in fruit erect. Calyx: of two to four scales. Corolla: of four or five usually bract-like petals. Stamens: eight or ten with anthers attached horizontally to the filaments. Pistil: one; stigma,five-rayed. Fruit: a capsule, which after flowering, erects itself. Leaves: white and smooth; more truly scales than leaves. Stem; round; smooth; waxy; about eight inches high. Roots; fibrous.
Few plants are uncanny, and we therefore shiver slightly when we take hold of the ghost-flower, which is so clammy and white. It further annoys us by turning black and decomposing almost instantly after having been touched. Children and Indians, whose nerves are perhaps more hardy than those of ordinary mortals, delight in the plant. The former play with it, and the latter have some way of using it supposedly to strengthen the eyesight.
The whiteness of the plant is owing to the absence of all chlorophyll grains, or green colouring matter; and it may not be inappropriate to mention here that it is through the chemical change of these grains that we have the varied tints of the autumn foliage.