Friday, September 18, 2009

Found this on the pipeline

Leafless &
Almost-leafless Plants

Parasitic dodder on goldenrodDodder closeupWe mustn't think that all plants do have leaves, however. Obviously microscopic algae doesn't have them. As the pictures here show, the orange-colored, threadlike, parasitic plant called Dodder (genus Cuscuta of the morning glory family) looks like orange or yellow string and it has no leaves. Dodder twines all over various kinds of plants sinking rootlike haustoria into the host plants' tissues. The host plants' nutrient-rich fluids then flow into the dodder. Since the dodder is actually  robbing the host of its fluids and nutrients, dodder doesn't need leaves so that it can make its own food. By the way, the picture at the top right is a closeup clearly showing haustoria  penetrating the host-plant's leaves and stem. I found this dodder alongside a local road, so this is not something exotic only to be seen in books. If you look for it, it's easy to find in most of the US.