Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Being a discovery of specimens of Ghost Plant in the beech-oak forest of Connecticut

After a day of pillaging yesterday, we landed today to sell our gains and I took the opportunity to take a short walk through the native woods of Connecticut. The forest was dominated by oak, beech and maple and though the sky threatened rain it remained clear until after I had returned to the shelter of the ship. After accidentally flushing a young deer, I happened to notice a pale form sprouting up from the litter - at first it seemed to me a peculiar sort of mushroom or some other lower plant but then when I looked more closely I realized it was not a fungus at all but indeed what I was observing was itself a flower! It was a true plant before me entirely without any sort of color anywhere. I had seen it only once before years ago – as part of my studies – I had found a specimen of Ghost Plant, sometimes known as Indian Pipes. These tiny flowers are rare and grow only in the dark of the forest. Finding myself without my magnifying scope, or even my hand lens, I was forced to sketch the plant without performing a detailed study of its anatomy and I fear it will not dry well as other plants do, though I will endeavor to preserve it anyway being that the benefit should it work would indeed quite outweigh the loss of a few minutes of time and the minimal input of supplies needed for the attempt.
Ghost Plant – Kingdom Plantae; Species Monotropa uniflora. The flowers were made up of five petals which formed a tube or a bell-shaped flower which was oriented down so that the entire flower had a stooped appearance or looked rather like a cane. The anthers of the flower were found to reside below the single stigma, circling it on all sides. The base of the stamens (at the point of attachment) was a pale blue-grey sort of color with yellow anthers. Stigma was a much paler yellow, but these were the only colors throughout the entire plant save the grey of the shadows it cast.

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