Elusive Wildflowers – Part 13.3 – Pinesap

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post in this series, Elusive Wildflowers. Mostly because Wisconsin is SO MUCH buggier than New Hampshire that I don’t hike in peak wildflower season. It’s too miserable and I’d rather kayak. But, on an overcast day I decided to visit the Turtle Rock segment of the IAT. We’d had so much rain that I figured the brook would be running high and it was, but that wasn’t the star of the show there. These were –

Monotropa hypopitys

Woo hoo! Pinesap!

Yes, I’m still excited about these flowers. Every time I’ve seen them here in Wisconsin, they’ve been long past their fresh blooming stage. This time was lucky though and there were some that had just emerged.

They are the same species as the red ones from Massachusetts, but instead are a buttery yellow. They were growing in a couple of spots, but most dense on a small hillock on the side of the trail. The leaf litter was really deep and it was difficult to place the tripod without crushing them so my compositional choices were limited.

It was also pretty breezy and so made bracketing for stacking a little tough. For this close up of a single flower I chose each focus point individually and used the cable release to time each photo between breezes. The result is good, but not as good as it would have been could I have used the bracketing function in camera.

Still, the detail is decent and I used the retouching function in Zerene to paint in a more pleasing background.

The blossoms themselves look very much like Indian Pipe only fuzzy and many flowers can grow on a single stem unlike Indian pipe which is one flower per stem. Their Latin name means exactly that – Monotropa uniflora.

Also like Indian pipe, pinesap flowers start in a bent or nodding position and once pollinated, straighten and lose their petals. Only the seed pods and stems are left behind and they overwinter as brownish sticks.

I couldn’t seem to manage a landscape oriented photo of these – nothing worked. And quite frankly I was running out of patience. It was almost 100% humidity at the time and with sweat running down my face and basically everywhere else, I was getting to my limit. Plus the bugs were driving me nuts. Just the wrong combination for leisurely photography.

But now I know where they are I’ll visit again next year.

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