Indian Pipe – Fragrant
Q: I found these in pine mixed woods. Their fragrance was striking. There were two small patches, each about 1 ft. sq.. As we walked up on them, a very noticeable floral, appealing aroma was present. When I picked one and smelled it, I was surprised how strong it smelled in a good way. I’m not good at describing smells, but some perfumes are hideous to me. This was a good smell.
A: Very interesting! The plant itself is called Indian pipe, Monotropa uniflora. It feeds on the roots of trees and has no chlorophyl of its own. It is interesting but not harmful.
My native plant expert Shannon Pable says:
“I can’t remember smelling anything the last time I spotted it…but have heard of it smelling similar to violets. There is also Monotropsis odorata that’s known for its strong fragrance..…however, viewing these pix, it is definitely Monotropa uniflora.”
Keep your eyes peeled for more of these when you are out in the woods and note the fragrance for me.