Example of Total and Partial Root & Stem Parasites | Angiospermic parasites | Nutrition in Plants

 There are some plants which do not have chlorophyll. They cannot synthesise their food. How do they survive and from where do they derive nutrition? Like humans and animals such plants depend on the food produced by other plants. They use the heterotrophic mode of nutrition.

Total Stem Parasite -Cuscuta

 Look at Figure Do you see yellow tubular structures twining around the stem and branches of a tree?

Cuscuta (Amarbel) is a light yellowish green climber which spreads over a plant. This is a plant Cuscuta It does not have chlorophyll. It takes readymade food from the plant on which it is climbing. The plant on which it climbs is called a host. Since it deprives the host of valuable nutrients, it is called a parasites.


Haven't you seen the Loranthus that grows on the mango tree? Is the growth of Loranthus on the mango tree beneficial? Why? Even though Loranthus has leaves and roots, it prepares food absorbing water and minerals from the host plant.


Some plants absorb food from the plants on which they live. They do not prepare food for themselves. Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world, also belongs to this category

Angiospermic parasites

Angiospermic parasites | Example of Total and Partial Root & Stem Parasites

Key Points to Remember: 

• Plants that absorb water and minerals from the host plant and prepare their own food with the help of their leaves are known as semi parasites

  Example: Loranthus.

• Plants that absorb food directly from the host plants are total parasites.

 Example: Cuscuta.

• Both semi parasites and total parasites harm the host plants.

Total Stem Parasite


Partial Stem Parasite


·  Viscum (Mistletoe)

· Loranthus

Total Root Parasite

· Rafflesia

· Orbanche

· Balanophora

Partial Root Parasite

· Santalum

· Thesium

· Striga

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