(including Plants without Chlorophyll)

These non-green plants obtain their nutrition through a fungal associate. The fungus connects a photosynthetic plant (green plant, often a conifer) to the non-green Ericaceae. The non-green ericads are considered mycotrophic rather than parasitic, because there is an intermediate (the fungus) between the "host" and the plant that benefits. Many characteristics of the non-green ericads are reduced in size and in their development. For example: the sepals and petals of many non-green ericads are difficult to distinguish and the embryo in the non-green ericads is usually reduced in size and less highly organized than in the photosynthetic members of the family. Leaves are reduced to bracts and in most species it is essentially only the inflorescence that emerges above ground.
Distribution Map of Monotropoideae throughout the World
Based on DNA sequence data, members of the non-green Ericaceae fall into two groups. One group contains just two species: Pterospora andromeda (pine drops) and Sarcodes sanguinea (Tribe Pterosporeae). The other group contains species such as Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe) and Allotropa virgata (Monotropeae).
Phylogenetic tree of Monotropoideae
Description of Monotropoideae
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