Monotropa hypopithys from Christine in SC

This plant was found along the Lakeside Trail at Table Rock State Park. It was on the western side of the lake barely into the first cove as you go south from the picnic shelters and just past the cabins. It was on the bank about 2-3 feet above the trail in partial to fairly deep shade. I first spotted it on June 26, 2021 when it was quite white. A week later, on July 3, it was turning brown. 10 days after that it was quite dark. It had a sweet fragrance I could smell when I got very close. Sorry I have nothing for scale but the wild grape leaves and the pipsissewa that is in the photos. I think they were about 6+ inches tall. As best I can tell, it seems like it should be in the heath family, but I could not find any that matched in my guides.


Hi Christine,

Your wildflower is Monotopa hypopithys, usually called Pinesap.  It is a relative of Indian pipe, Monotropa uniflora, which has only a single flower per stem.  The color can be quite variable, and there may be more than one species involved. It is a wonderful saprophytic plant without chlorophyll found only occasionally in the uplands.



Dr. Steven Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

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