Plants are known to manufacture their own food as they consist of chlorophyll. However there exist certain plants that are chlorophyll free and therefore cannot manufacture their food.
For instance, there are the Nettles and Hop species which have no chlorophyll in their tissues. As a result, they have to attach themselves to the stems or roots of certain green plants and absorb the food that the latter produces.
In this process, they very often cause harm to those green plants as in some way or the other they are “stealing” their food.
John Weathers once displayed a stunning observation in his book Commercial Gardening Volume One about the Pelargoniums plants. The chlorophyll free Broomrape used to snatch food from the Pelargonium plants.
Consequently, the Pelargonium plants did not grow well and they even failed to recover. Even after the parasite plant was removed, the former showed no improvement. In short, such plants owe their living indirectly to the green plants.
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Plants that absorb food from other living plants are termed as parasites plants. More examples of them are the Club-root fungus of Cabbages, the Mildew and Rust of Roses and Chrysanthemums. They are deemed as one-celled and proficient in causing diseases to plants and even to people and animals.
Stan Tekiela, author and wildlife photographer, moreover highlights that the Indian Pipe, also known as Ghost Pipe is a recurrent plant, native to temperate regions of North America and other northern regions worldwide. This particular plant has only one flower on its stem, hence described as “uniflora” – meaning one flower.
More Information about the Indian Pipe:
- It is very easy to identify it as it looks like a white pipe. It becomes black if it gets bruised or when its lifecycle finishes.
- This plant has no leaves and there are pale white scales along its stem.
- It is ten to twenty cm high.
- The most appropriate places for this plant are dense humid forests with leaf litter.
- Some parts of the Indian Pipe are edible. They are mostly used for medicinal purposes. If they are consumed raw, they are tasteless. Once cooked, the Indian Pipe tastes like asparagus.