Parasitic Plant – UPSC Prelims

Parasitic Plant:
  • The plant that obtains all or part of its nutrition from another plant (the host) without contributing to the benefit of the host and, in some cases, causing extreme damage to the host.
  • The defining structural feature of a parasitic plant is the haustorium, a specialised organ that penetrates the host and forms a vascular union between the plants.
  • Parasitic plants differ from plants such as climbing vines, lianas, epiphytes, and aerophytes, though the latter are supported by other plants, they are not parasitic, because they use other plants simply as a structure on which to grow rather than as a direct source of water or nutrients.
  • Parasite can be Total Parasite or Partial Parasite.
Total Parasite
Partial Parasite
A complete  parasite that depends on the host to fulfil all its requirements.
A parasite that  depends on the host for some requirements.
Depend on the host  plant for sugar, minerals and water.
Photosynthetic and  produce their own food, depending on the host for water and shelter.
Called  holo-parasitic plants.
Caller  hemi-parasitic plants.
Achlorophyllous  i.e. does not contain chlorophyll.
Chlorophyllous  i.e. contains chlorophyll.
Ex. Dodder,  Broomrape, Rafflesia.
Ex. Castilleja,  Mistletoe, Yellow Rattle.

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