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Common Name: Indian Pipe
Monotropa uniflora is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
The plant contains several glycosides and is possibly toxic[
E. Asia - Japan. Most areas of N. America.
Damp coniferous woods in hills and mountains all over Japan[
]. Dark rich woodlands in N. America[
We have very little information on this plant but it should be hardy in this country. It is likely to require shady woodland conditions in a humus-rich moist soil,
It is a saprophytic plant, quite devoid of chlorophyll and depending totally on its host plant for nutrient[
The whole plant can be cooked[
]. It is tasteless if eaten raw, but has a taste like asparagus when it is cooked[
An infusion of the root is antispasmodic, hypnotic, nervine, sedative, tonic[
]. It is a good remedy for spasms, fainting spells and various nervous conditions[
]. It has been given to children who suffer from fits, epilepsy and convulsions[
The plant was used by some native North American Indian tribes to treat eye problems, the stem was bruised and the clear fluid of the stems applied to the eyes[
]. The juice from the stems has also been used to treat nervous irritability, including fits and spasms[
]. It has been suggested in the past as a possible opium substitute[
An infusion of the leaves has been used to treat colds and fevers[
The crushed plant has been rubbed on bunions and warts in order to destroy them[
]. A poultice of the plant has been applied to sores that are difficult to heal[
The flowers have been chewed in order to bring relief from toothache[
Water extracts of the plant are bactericidal[
This is going to be an exceedingly difficult plant to propagate. The seed will need to be sown close to its host plant so one way would be to sow it in the leaf litter under established beech or coniferous trees[
]. Alternatively, you could try sowing the seed in a cold frame in a pot that already contains a potential host plant. If successful, grow the young plant on in the cold frame for a couple of years before planting it out close to an established beech or coniferous tree.