Since we’re no longer at Kingsford Lake, I’ve had to discontinue the installment title “Today at Kingsford”. I haven’t been sure what to replace it with. I’d settled on the name “Tay Meadows” for our new location, which is, as the name implies, primarily meadow, and is located in Tay Valley Township, not far from the Tay River. “Today at Tay Meadows” sounded a little awkward, though, and when posting these things previously it wasn’t always today that the observation was made. So I went with “Tay Meadows Tidbit” to represent this recurring series of short-length posts. This will be the first one from the new home.
When I posted about Indian Pipe a couple weeks ago, I mentioned that they had a sister species, Pinesap, Monotropa hypopitys. At the time, I hadn’t ever seen Pinesap, although I’d encountered Indian Pipe on rare occasion before. Well, what should I come across not a few days after making that post, but Pinesap! And not just anywhere, either. This patch is growing beside the driveway, at the edge of the pine forest that the previous owners planted there several decades ago. I happened to notice the plants one afternoon when I took Raven for a walk to the forest down the road. I guess ordinarily, when I’m just driving by, I don’t pay that much attention to the edges of the driveway.
Many of the plants are still young and not fully grown yet; even the tall ones aren’t completely unfurled. However, you can still see that each stem bears many flowers, one of the key characteristics that separates this species from Indian Pipe. Its habitat is another, as the Indian Pipe is associated strictly with deciduous tree species, while Pinesap, as the name implies, is primarily dependent on conifers.
The third feature, of course, is the colour. Indian Pipe is almost always white; the rare individual may be red or pinkish. Pinesap, on the other hand, has two forms. Those that flower early in the summer, such as the ones in these photos, are yellow, while plants that bloom later in the fall are usually red.
For more on the ecology of these two species, visit the original Indian Pipe post.