PARASITIC PLANTS - INFO

 PARASITIC PLANTS

Parasitic plants derive all their nutrients from the root systems of nearby host plants, and are quite in-capable of deriving nutrients from the soil themselves. Most, if not all parasitic plants, have very specific host requirements and will only grow in the presence of a particular host. the broomrapes are like this. Thus Thyme broomrape grows only on Thyme. Greater Broomrape is able to grow on either Gorse or Broom, both of the Pea Family. This is probably how Broomrapes got their name: from the host of Greater Broomrape: Broom.

Broomrapes are quite in-capable of synthesizing chlorophyll, and they have none. Chlorophyll in plants is responsible for how plants derive essential plant-building compounds like carbohydrates from carbon dioxide in the air and water from the ground with the help of sunlight. Without chlorophyll these reactions cannot happen. A plant without chlorophyll must hi-jack another plants' root system that has this ability and siphon off some of the synthesized products without killing the host (otherwise both will die).

Somewhat surprisingly, some parasitic plants are also able to parasitize themselves, a phenomenon called self-parasitization. Species of Dodder are one such; Mistletoe too in some instances.

HEMI-PARASITIC PLANTS - INFO

 HEMI-PARASITIC PLANTS

Hemi-parasitic (or semi-parasitic) plants derive some of their nutrients from the roots of adjacent plants. They do this by hooking into the host plants root system. If there are no nearby plants, then they will get by without nutrient supplements; they just grow as well.

Not all hemi-parasites tap into the roots of hosts, some like Mistletoe or Dodder tap into the stems of hosts.

Gene-Swapping when in close-contact
It has recently been discovered that whenever the stems of two differing plants are in contact with each other for a longish time that some genes from each species are transferred across to the other species. But the genes remain localised. However, your Author thinks that that does not necessarily preclude the opportunity here for a novel method of evolution. Over the aeons that have elapsed since plants first developed it seems likely that they will have progressed and diversified by whatever means presented itself. And that may mean development of new species or families, or at the very least appropriation of whatever chemical synthesis those genes might proffer. And seeing as some plant go out of their way to cling on to other plants (such as Ivy, Dodder and Mistletoe with their ability to tap into their host) and with twinning plants which entwine themselves around others, it seems they must have been exchanging genes for centuries on purpose. So, the Author wonders, have biologists identified any such gene transferances which have been incorporated into the genome and self-propagated, or is that now impossible to tell? Maybe that's why there are so many genera and families.

SAPROPHYTIC PLANTS - INFO

 SAPROPHYTIC (MYCO-HETEROTROPHIC) PLANTS

Saprophytic plants are quite in-capable of synthesizing chlorophyll, and they have none. Chlorophyll in plants is responsible for how plants derive essential plant-building compounds like carbohydrates from carbon dioxide in the air and water from the ground with the help of sunlight. Without chlorophyll these photo-synthetic reactions cannot happen. A plant without chlorophyll must hi-jack another plants' root system that has this ability and siphon off some of the synthesized products without killing the host (otherwise both will die).

Further research has proved that, in reality, there are no saprophytic plants. The word 'saprophyte' is a misnomer - and is no longer a recommended term in botany. In it's stead is the term 'myco-heterotrophs'. Plants once considered saprophytic, such as Monotropes (such as Yellow Bird's-nest) or non-photosynthetic orchids (such as Bird's-nest Orchid or Ghost Orchid) are now known to be parasitic on fungi.


CARNIVOROUS PLANTS - INFO

 CARNIVOROUS PLANTS

Carnivorous Plants 'eat' mainly small insects (so are therefore 'insectivorous') that happen to get entrapped either in the flower, or on the slippery leaves. They have no teeth to masticate them, but rather use a cocktail of enzymes produced by the plant itself with which to digest them, and the juices are subsequently absorbed within the plant to be used as components in synthesis.


PROTOCARNIVOROUS PLANTS - INFO

 PROTOCARNIVOROUS PLANTS

ProtoCarnivorous Plants are borderline carnivorous plants, some are able to trap insects but are not capable of fully digesting them or are not, to various degrees, fully capable of absorbing all the nutrients from them. Carnivorous plants produce their own enzymes to digest the insect, but protocarnivorous plants may not produce an enzyme to digest the insects, but merely rely on normal decomposition when the insect dies after entrapment. Examples include the parasitic plants Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria) and Toothwort (Purple) and the non-parasitic plant Wild Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum).



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