Flowers

Cuscuta campestris

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Cuscuta campestris

Cuscuta is a very particular plant because it can be considered a total parasite. In fact, it does not have roots and, at the adult stage, it is not even able to do chlorophyll photosynthesis. It lives entirely at the guest's expense by obtaining water and nourishment. Botanists find it very interesting and there are numerous studies concerning it: its relationship with parasitic plants is mainly investigated and how it "understands" in which direction to direct its growth in the early stages of development.

On the other hand, it is one of the most hated by gardeners and farmers: its arrival is capable of ruining the aesthetics of the flower beds, but, above all, it is seriously damaging to income crops. It is also very difficult to totally eliminate and spreads easily by seed.

Cuscuta campestris, in particular, is not endemic to our country, being native to North America, but is now widespread in almost all regions.


Characteristics of cuscuta campestris

Cuscuta is a unique plant: it has no roots and is almost completely leafless. It grows mostly from seed: from this, in favorable conditions at first emitted very small leaves and for a short period there is chlorophyll photosynthesis. At the same time, the stem develops and begins to "turn" on itself until it can cling to the host plant. The studies carried out have established that each cuscuta is guided towards the one he prefers by capturing specific volatile organic compounds. Once reached, small suckers called austori are produced: they penetrate inside the tissues and begin to suck the sap. From that moment, the spread on the plot continues, taking the classic color from yellow to reddish. Later it will produce the flowers (white, bell) and later also the seeds, very fine, white or black.

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