Hypopitys monotropa   Yellow Bird's-nest R DDD N

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This is one of the very few plants like Toothwort, Bird's Nest Orchid and the Broomrapes which has no chlorophyll. It is often said to be saprophytic on leaf litter so you can find it under trees often in the dark shade where nothing else will grow. However the most recent work on such plants suggests that none of them are saprophytic and all live in parasitic association with mycorrhizal fungi.

To quote Bioimages:

"An achlorophyllous plant which is parasitic on ectomycorrhiza of Tricholoma species, especially T. cingulatum"

There are now two sub species of the recently re-named Hypopitys monotropa (ssp monotropa and ssp hypophegea) of this plant which differ in the hairiness or otherwise of stamens and carpels but as these distinctions were not widely known when I photographed the plants here, I do not know which sub species they are.

Hypopitys monotropa is found in southern England and records become fewer as you travel north where it is becoming scarcer. It is found in north and south Wales and there are a very few outposts in Scotland. In Ireland it is scarce.

Monotropa hypopitys

Hypopitys monotropa Yellow Bird's-nest

Friston Forest East Sussex 8th July 2007

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Hypopitys monotropa Yellow Bird's-nest

LHS: Friston Forest East Sussex 8th July 2007 RHS:Deep shade. Breckland, East Anglia 12th July 2003

Added on January 29th 2005, updated and re-directed 4th January 2011

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