Parasitic Charms

An extensive collection of photographs from around the world demonstrate the full weirdness of parasitic plants. For sheer size, try the Rafflesia, with buds the size of footballs and individual flowers that outsprawl a straw hat. For sci-fi charm, visit the fleshy Hydnora blooms reaching out of the dirt or the crusty lumps of Prosopanche fruit. The tropical mistletoes show up as some of the most beautiful, with flashy red, yellow, and orange conflagrations of blooms. The Web site, created by botanist Dan Nickrent of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, also includes references and supporting material.

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From the Nature Index

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