Flowering Plant Parasites (Phanerogams)

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Flowering Plant Parasites (Phanerogams)

Most of the diseases are caused by fungi bacteria and viruses. There are few seeds plants called flowering parasites (Phanerogams) which are parasitic on living plants. Some of these attack roots of the host, while some parasites on stem. Some are devoid of chlorophyll and entirely dependent on their host for food supply, while other have chlorophyll and obtain only mineral constituents of food from host by drawing nutrition and water they are called as Holoparasites or complete or total parasite. They have haustoria as absorbing organs, which are sent deep into the vascular bundle of the host to draw nutrients, water and minerals.

Flowering Plant Parasites: There are two types of parasites.

1) Root Parasites:

i) Striga (Partial root parasite)

ii) Orobanche (Complete root parasite) 

2) Stem Parasites:

i) Dodder (Cuscuta) (Complete stem parasite)                                

ii) Loranthus (Partial Stem parasite)

1. Root Parasites:

1. Total or Complete or Holoparasite:

Orobanche (Broom rape or Tokra)
It is annual flashy flowering plant growing to height of about 15-50 cm long, yellow or brownish colour and covered by small thin scaly leaves. Flowers appears in the axil of leaves are white or tubular. Fruits appears in the axil of leaves are white or tubular. Fruits are capsule containing and seeds are very small, black in colour remain viable for several years. The hausteria of parasite penetrates into the roots of hosts and draw its nourishment. The growth of the plant is retarded, may die some times. It attacks tobacco, tomato, brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower.

2. Hemi Partial or Semi Root Parasite:

Striga (Witch Weed or Turfula or Talop)
Family Scrophulariaceae

It is a small plant with bright green leaves grows upto height 20-60 cm leaves beers chlorophylls and developed in clusters of 10-20 % host plant. They are obligate parasites therefore, do not obtain all their nutrient from their host root. Flowers are pink in colour, seed are very minute and produce in grate number 5000 to 100000 seeds plant per years. One flower contain 1200-1500 seeds and remains viable upto 12-40 years. Dissemination takes place with rain water, flood, wind and irrigation water. It cause yellowing and wilting of host leaves. It attacks sugarcane jowar, Maize, cereals and millets.

b. Stem Parasites:

1. Total or Complete or Holoparasite:

Cuscuta or dodder (Amarvel, Lovevine) Family cuscutaceae.
Genus – Cuscuta     
It is non chlorophyllous, leaf less parasitic seed plant.

It is yellow pink or orange in colour and attached to the host. They do not bear leaves but bear minute function less scale leaves is produces flower and fruits. Flower are white, pink or yellowish in colour and found in clusters. Seed are form in capsules. A single plant may be produce 3000 seeds.

The first appearances of parasites is noticed as thread like leaf less stem which devoid of green pigment and twine around the stem or leaves of the host. When stem of parasitic plant comes in contact with host, the minute root like organs. i.e. hausteria penetrates into the host and absorbs. When the relation ship of the host is firmly established, the dodder plant looses the contact from soil.

These affect plant get weakened and yield poorly the seeds spread by animals, water and implements and remain viable when condition are unfavorable.

It attacks berseem alfalfa, clover, flax, onion, potato, ornamental and hedge plants.

2. Partial, Semi or Hemi Stem Parasites:

Family- Loranthaceae.
It is a partial parasite of tree trunks and branches with brown stem, dark green leaves but no roots.

1. Stem is thick and flattened of the node, appear in clusters at the point of attack which can be easily spotted on the trees.

2. At the point of attachment with the tree, it shows swellings or tumourous growth where the haustoria are produced. It produces flowers which are long, tabular, greenish, white or red colour and found in clusters. It produces fleshy berries with single seed.

3. The affected host plant becomes stunted in growth and dispersal of seed is mostly through the birds and animals. It attacks mango, citrus, apple, guava.

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