Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for May 11th, 2020

A plant that preys on plants

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Dodder (Cuscuta sp.) preys on other plants by coiling its slender orange strands around them, inserting tendrils, and drawing out nutrients. In this view from the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on May 4th the two preyed-on species were prairie bishop (Bifora americana) and greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium). I lay on the ground to get this towering perspective; the result justified my discomfort (we artists suffer for our work).

Once a dodder plant is nourished at the expense of its prey, it produces clusters of tiny cream-colored flowers, as you can see in the lower right quadrant of the second photograph. The greenthread flower head still looked normal but others that I saw nearby were shriveled and stunted from the predation.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 11, 2020 at 4:39 AM

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