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Parasitic plant

A parasitic plant is a plant that derives some or all of its nutritional requirements from another living plant. They make up about 1% of angiosperms and are in almost every biome in the world. All parasitic plants have modified roots, named haustoria (singular: haustorium), which penetrate the host plants, connecting them to the conductive system – either the xylem, the phloem, or both. This provides them with the ability to extract water and nutrients from the host. Parasitic plants are classified depending on where the parasitic plant latches onto the host and the amount of nutrients it requires. Some parasitic plants are able to locate their host plants by detecting chemicals in the air or soil given off by host shoots or roots, respectively. About 4,500 species of parasitic plant in approximately 20 families of flowering plants are known.

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endangered dodder native to california

Contributed by Matt Gaxiola

cuscuta californica

Contributed by Matt Gaxiola

Cuscuta Californica is a parasitic plant native to California

Contributed by Matt Gaxiola

largest flower a parasitic flowering plant...smells of rotting flesh

Contributed by Matt Gaxiola

The picture above is a parasitic plant native to the nation of Africa. Usually this plant grows underground, yet the structure of this flower creates the smell of feces. By doing so it attracts dung and carrion beetles. Once a beetle has entered the plant closes like a venus fly trap and traps the beetle for a brief period. Photo Credit: ispot.org.za

Contributed by AJ Santos

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