WATCH: Weird pale parasitic ghost plants contain no chlorophyll

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Should be ‘Monotropa uniflora’.

There are other plants with no (or very little) chlorophyll- I’ve seen broomrape and dodder, which are apparently genuinely parasitic on other plants, rather than fungi.

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Meh. Give me Gastrodia ghost-orchids.

Chlorophil is a DJ.

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Wow. I’ve seen these before, but always just assumed they were fungi.

I found some of these on a hike…

They come up out of the forest duff about six inches, already flowering. Transparent leaves. Very rigid stalks, and they turn black when they oxidize.

It’s like a seedling got lost, was found by mushrooms, and raised as one of their own or something.


Don’t try to wrap a heartwarming adoption story around it. These aren’t some adorable little lost seedlings that we took into our fuzzy embrace, these are the biggest welfare parasites on the mycorrhizal networks. It’s supposed to be symbiotic; but these plants have never operated a chloroplast in their lives and it’s just take, take, take. Makes me sick.



Chloro- means green.
-phyll means leaf.
Green leaf. Easy to remember.

Phil is a short of Philip. So chlorophil means green Philip.

I saw a ton of these when I was out hiking on Monday!

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