Gathered together in stiff, colourless groups of from three to a dozen or more, these strange, uncanny, waxy white flowers hold their silent, Quaker-like meetings with bowed heads, as if awaiting the motion of some woodland spirit to arouse them. This leafless plant is known as a parasite because it draws its nourishment from other living roots and decaying vegetable matter. It is noticeably cold and clammy to the touch, and is inclined to turn black when plucked or exposed to the sun. The Indians used the Ice-plant for relieving affections of the eyes. The white flower stem, which grows from four to ten inches high, is thick and smooth, and springs from a ball of matted, brittle rootlets. The stem is covered with small, scaly white bracts. The rather large, white terminal and nodding, oblong, shell-shaped flower is wax-like, scentless, and solitary.

INDIAN PIPE. Monotropa uniflora

INDIAN PIPE. Monotropa uniflora.

It has from four to six scale-like petals and from two to four early falling white sepals. The short, thick pistil is surrounded with usually ten stamens. After the flower matures, it becomes erect for the seeds to ripen. It is found commonly in dark, rich woods, from June to August, and from one end of the country to the other, also in Japan. Sometimes the entire plant is tinted with pink.