Indian pipe, ghost plant, or corpse plant (Monotropa uniflora) is a holoparasitic plant with an even more remarkable ecology. Its hosts are mycorrhizal fungi, which are themselves mutualists that derive their energy from a host tree (see the Fungi station for more about mycorrhizae, and the Symbiosis station for more about mutualism versus parasitism). So the Indian pipe is ultimately feeding off of a host tree, but it does so through an intermediary. It is not clear whether the mycorrhizal intermediary is harmed by this relationship or possibly even benefits in some way.
Most plants are autotrophs because they make their own food by photosynthesis. But for every rule there is an exception. Some plants are non-photosynthetic and parasitic, obtaining their food through a host. All parasitic plants have special organs called haustoria that infiltrate into the host plant’s tissues and extract water and nutrients. Parasitic plants can be holoparasites, with virtually no chlorophyll and thus completely parasitic, or they can be hemiparasites, with the ability to photosynthesize to some degree. We will focus on holoparasites here.
Beechdrops (Epifagus americana) is a holoparasitic plant that lives off of beech trees. Indeed, the genus name Epifagus literally means “upon beech.” Beechdrops has neither leaves nor chlorophyll; instead, its haustoria connect to the roots of the beech below ground. In fact, what you see above ground is just the flowering part of the plant. Between August and October, it produces small, purplish flowers. Actually, it produces two different types of flowers: flowers that self-pollinate (called cleistogamous flowers) and flowers that cross-pollinate with other plants (called chasmogamous flowers). To avoid exhausting its only food supply, it becomes dormant in the winter with its host beech tree (see the Plant Evolution IV: Angiosperms).
Indian Pipe has no chlorophyll. In fact, it has virtually no pigments at all, and is thus a waxy, corpulent white, although rare variants are a deep red color, perhaps a genetic vestige of its ancestral coloration. It does have tiny, scale-like leaves, generally also without pigmentation. It grows only 2–12 inches tall, with one drooping, bell-shaped flower per stem. During flowering season, from June to September, it is insect-pollinated. Following its bloom, the flower will point straight up and the stem will darken, the condition you find the plant in for most of the growing season. Indian pipe prefers shaded sites with rich soils and is often found close to decaying matter, leafy mulch or tree roots. It is often found with beech or sometimes pines or oaks.
Once the plants are established, they will work hard for you, however there are a few tips on germination. Sow near the top of the seed compost with just a sprinkling of compost over the top – chilli seeds don’t like being too deep in the soil. Keep well watered and also k eep them really warm in a heated propagator, on a heat mat or in a closed plastic bag on top of the fridge at the back where the warm air comes out. Look after them when they are seedlings, you don’t want to stress them at this stage – that comes later when the pods are forming. When your plant begins to flower, you will need to pollinate them using a paintbrush or cotton bud and just poke the stamens of each flower. This will allow it to set seed. When the first fruit appear, pick these off and this again will encourage it to flower and fruit more. More information can be found at www.chileman.org
Dragon’s Eye Naga Ghost Hot Honey WEIGHT: 250 g HEAT: 10/10 IN..
Naga Ghost Chilli
Approx 15 seeds Heat: untested but at least 600,000+ Genus: C chinense Info: Thi..
Dragon’s Eye Naga Ghost Hot Honey
We have been selling these seeds for over 10 years with an unparallelled germination rate and incredible quality of fruit both in quality and quantity. With the right conditions, you could get pods 8-10cm in length with a delicious fruity flavour and plenty of heat. 2013 crop now in.