Heather Harbord – “McFall Creek Trail”
by Heather Harbord, 7 Jul 2020.
Walking in the woods behind the Complex, I noticed several prime clumps of Indian-Pipes (Monotropa uniflora) which all that rain has brought out. Sometimes called ghost flowers, these white clumps, 5-25cm high, lack chlorophyll and have to feed on the nearby conifer trees via the fungi which connect their roots to them.
To find them, start at the Triple Bypass Loop and walk north on the McFall Creek Loop. Between the picnic tables and the bridge, there are several easily seen clumps beside the trail. Look at the pictures on our website before you go. In a few days, the 2 cm long white flowers will turn upwards, withering to dark purple and black. In this phase, they are more difficult to see.
Also, watch for the similar yellowy-pink Pinesap (Hypopitys monotropa), which you may also spot.