Friday, August 3, 2012

A Tangled Web of Golden Threads

Swamp Dodder (Cuscuta gronovii) is one of the vampires of the plant kingdom – the seedling of this parasitic member of the Morning Glory family has a short time after germination to latch onto a suitable host plant or it dies.

If a host plant is found, the dodder seedling inserts structures called haustoria into the plant's tissues. The dodder's root then withers and it becomes an obligate parasite, relying solely on the host for its nutrition.