Parasitic Plant

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Parasitic Plant: Insectivorous plant
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Plant, Parasitic


a plant that completely or partially lives off the nutrients of other living organisms. Parasitic plants exist among both lower and higher plants, including flowering plants. Fungi, algae, and bacteria parasitize plants, animals, and man and are frequently the causative agents of infectious diseases. Parasitic flowering plants mostly infest and harm higher plants, including such cultivated ones as the sunflower, tomato, sorghum, and tobacco.

Facultative parasitic plants can exist by parasitism and other modes of feeding (for example, photoautotrophic). Obligate parasitic plants also use other sources of nutrition at times. Hemiparasitic plants are at the same time parasitic and photo-trophic organisms; for example, common toothwort is both a parasite and a carnivore.

Ectoparasitic plants penetrate the tissues of the host by means of haustoria, which extract nutrients. Such parasites include perisporaceous fungi (the causative agents of powdery mildew) and such flowering plants as broomrape and dodder. Endoparasitic plants, which include the Rafflesiaceae, develop completely or largely in the tissues of the host plant and emerge onto the surface of the host only to reproduce.

The evolution of plant parasites proceeded from accidental parasitism to facultative forms and, then, to obligate forms. It was accompanied by the disappearance of the capacity for photoautotrophic or saprophytic nutrition and by the acquisition of mechanisms for parasitic nutrition. The structures used for autotrophic nutrition gradually disappeared or were transformed into organs of parasitic nutrition. For example, the root tips of some flowering plants were transformed into haustoria. The developmental cycle of some parasitic plants changed as a result of parasitism. Highly developed parasitic flowering plants are characterized by metamorphic development, that is, the transformation of their organization in the process of ontogeny.

Complex forms of parasitism evolved in some plant groups. For example, flowering plants with endotrophic mycorrhiza are characterized by mutual parasitism of a flowering plant and a fungus (such as Orchidaceae and Pyrolaceae). There also are cases of epiparasitism, or hyperparasitism, in which a mycotrophic flowering plant obtains nutrients from a coniferous plant through a mycorrhizal fungus common to both (for example, yellow bird’s nest).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Parasitic plants are not equivalent to some insidious tapeworm, which only benefit themselves.
Loranthaceae which is the most distributed family of the group of parasitic plants called mistletoe has been plagued with alarming rates of misidentification at the generic and specific levels [1].
Striga hermonthica seeds were collected from parasitic plants growing under sorghum in 2008 at Abu Nama Research Station Farm, Sinnar, Sudan.
Cross-species translocation of mRNA from host plants into the parasitic plant dodder.
The same observation was shown with Striga a parasitic plant where petroleum ether chloroform and ethanol extracts showed antibacterial activity against most of the organisms whereas the aqueous extracts were found to have no effect against most bacteria (Hairemath et al.
This was an unexpected result, since, within a number of largely self-pollinated parasitic plant species, host specificity has been found as a mechanism of accelerating isolation and subsequently genetic divergence among populations, for example, in Orobanche minor Sm.
Broomrape, Orobanche cumana, is a parasitic plant with no capacity for making chlorophyll on its own.
It is not a parasitic plant, but it has the same disgusting smell of rotting flesh as Rafflesia.
Triphysaria, like many other generalist root parasites, may attack multiple host individuals simultaneously, and use of multiple hosts can lead to a performance advantage for some parasitic plant species (Marvier 1998).
He discovered a common soil fungus (parasitic plant like a mushroom or mold) called aspergillus (pronounced as-pur-JIH-lus) thriving on diseased sea fans, but not on healthy ones.
"I was impressed by the spectacular canopies atop her yellow oleander trees that I picked the vine and planted in my compound," she recounted.When Seeds of Gold met Dorothy at her Kyumu village last week, she was an unhappy farmer as she was cutting down her orange trees after the parasitic plant colonised them.
Field surveys conducted in Poland in Sep and Oct 2017 revealed infestations of the parasitic plant Phelipanche ramosa (L.) Pomel (Orobanchaceae), also known as branched broomrape, by larvae of the monophagous fly Phytomyza orobanchia Kalt.