The Plant Kingdom - Parasitic Plants
Parasitic PlantsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Most of the plants prepare their food by photosynthesis, but there are some which depend on some living organisms, dead plants or dead organic matter. Such plants are called parasitic plants. The plant from which parasitic plants obtain its food is called the host.
Cuscuta depends on other plants. The yellow, thin and delicate stem of cuscuta winds itself around the host. Its haustoria penetrate into the xylem and phloem of the host stem and absorb food, minerals salts and water form there. The host of cuscuta gradually dies.
Rafflesia is a noteworthy parasitic plant found in south East Asia. This is very thin like a thread and its flower is the largest in the world. The diameter of the flower is about one meter and it weights up 7 to 8 kilograms. They grow on cissus twigs. These flowers produce a foul smell like that of a rotten dead body. These flowers are poisonous in nature. This flower takes 5 to 7 days to bloom. Several other families of parasitic flowering plants are also well known such as the broom rapes (orobanchaceae) and the dodders (cuscutaceae). They generally attack the roots of the host plants.