PARASITIC PLANTS

Most plants make all the food they need by photosynthesis, but some species are parasites. They steal food from other plants, known as host plants. Parasitic plants have special suckers that may invade the host plant’s food channels and draw off sugars and minerals. Many parasitic plants are totally dependent on their host for food and no longer need green leaves. Others still have green leaves and make some of their own food through photosynthesis.

TOTAL PARASITE

Dodder is a parasitic plant that cannot photosynthesize at all. Its leaves are reduced to tiny brown scales. Since it has no green chlorophyll, it must obtain all its food from the host plant. Dodder is a climber related to bindweed. Its stems twine around the host, producing suckers, called haustoria, that invade the host and steal its food.

GREEN PARASITE

Mistletoe is a parasite that steals water and minerals from its host tree. However, mistletoe also has green leaves. It produces its own food through photosynthesis, using water stolen from the host tree.

FLOWERING PARASITE

Rafflesia arnoldii is a parasitic plant that produces the world’s largest flower. It grows in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. The plant invades the underground roots of vines to take food. Sometimes the Rafflesia puts out a shoot from one of these roots. This develops into a giant, stinking flower that may be 1 m (3 ft) across. The flower’s powerful smell of rotting flesh attracts pollinating flies.

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley

highlights

7 Tips to Childproof Your Smartphone
Before you hand over your smartphone or tablet, follow these childproofing tips to help keep both your child and your device safe.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

11 Survival Tips for Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters for children of all ages.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks