Friday, August 30, 2013

Hauntingly beautiful parasite

As you wander through the murky Maine forest, its damp air heavy with the scent of pine, you stumble across a ghostly cipher, pushing its way up through the soft ground. Indian pipe is utterly without chlorophyll, unable to perform photosynthesis. What fluke of circumstance and shared need brought about this unusual relationship? How did it evolve to be totally dependent on its host plants? How did it find the fungal partner that connects it to its source of nutrients? Why up here in Maine? 

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