One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A genus of saprophytic (mycotrophic) dicotyledonous plants (family Ericaceae) which have brownish-yellow stems, scale leaves lacking chlorophyll, and drooping flowers; (also monotropa) either of the two plants of this genus, M. uniflora (the Indian pipe) and (more fully "yellow monotropa") M. hypopitys (the yellow bird's nest).
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Chambers's Cyclopaedia. From scientific Latin Monotropa (Linnaeus Genera Plantarum 111) from ancient Greek μονότροπος living alone, solitary.
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