The Q&A Archives: White Leafless Flowers

Question: Low white flower stalks, several in a clump, have suddenly sprung up under a tree near a rock pile. Not seen until this year and I did not plant them. Someone suggest they are a bulb. What are they?

Answer: It sounds to me like Indian Pipe (Montropa uniflora). These unusual plants have no clorophyll, and instead depend on a relationship with green plants, which is mediated by symbiotic fungi that live in the soil, for their carbohydrate needs. They are fascinating plants -- I recommend reading more about them.

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