Spooky Plants: The Ghost Plant

October 29, 2020

The Ghost Plant (Monotropa uniflora) is a perennial plant, meaning it dies back and returns annually. It’s native to Asia, North America, and the northern sections of South America. This plant is ghostly white, and lacks the green chlorophyll most plants contain. Because it contains no chlorophyll, the Ghost Plant cannot photosynthesize to create “food”. To gather nutrients, this plant is actually parasitic and attaches itself to trees (Beech trees are a favorite!).

This plant grows in such unique and specific conditions, it is unlikely to be able to be kept in a home plant collection. After a long dry period, this plant requires damp weather and will appear to grow in only a few days. The parasitic nature of this plant makes it difficult to propagate, because it requires the host plant to survive. 


Rather than large, luscious leaves like more tropical understory plants, the Ghost Plant’s leaves resemble more of white sheathes or scales. It will bloom from summer to late autumn, usually after a rainfall. The plant produces only one flower at a time. 


FUN FACT

If this Ghost Plant couldn’t look any spookier, some variations have a deep, blood red color to them.


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