Plant corpses


Indian pipes are an exception in the plant world. While it looks like a mushroom, it is actually a parasitic plant that taps into tree roots to get its food. It associates with several species of fungi that mediates the passage of sugars. This evolved trait means that it does not have or need chlorophyll. They can grow in even the darkest forest understory because it does not require sunlight for photosynthesis. Since it doesn’t need big leaves to capture sunlight, the leaves are reduced to small scales along the stalk. Yet, it is still a flowering plant with a fully developed flower in that droopy head.


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