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This screaming red parasitic Langsdorffia is called Vampire Plant. Find out why

Langsdorffia flowers, which is a parasitic plant, consists of flashy flowers and suckers. These screaming red flowers are intricate. Several parasitic plant experts call these flashy showpieces as Vampire plants. 

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: August 03, 2020 9:14 IST
Supreme grifters of the plant kingdom send up showy flowers (Langsdorffia hypogea male, left; female
Image Source : JEAN CARLO SANTOS

Supreme grifters of the plant kingdom send up showy flowers (Langsdorffia hypogea male, left; female, right) but don’t bother with even a single green leaf. Instead they just sneak around underground and steal all their food.

Langsdorffia flowers, which is a parasitic plant, consists of flashy flowers and suckers. These screaming red flowers are intricate. Several parasitic plant expert call these flashy showpieces as Vampire plants. 

"Langsdorffia’s underground rope sucks all the nutrition it needs from the roots of other plants, such as figs and mimosas. The burrowing freeloaders “challenge our notion of what plants even do," said Thorogood, at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum. 

The flowers of L. hypogea are found in Central and South America, including Brazil’s savanna, the cerrado. The flowers bloom during the dry season, erupting in loud reds from a thin carpet of other plants’ dead, brown leaves, as reported by Science News. 

Unlike many flowers from apples to zinnias that sport both male and female parts, an individual L. hypogea plant is either all male or all female. Each of its knobby blooms burst from the soil as skirted masses of tiny same-sex nubbins. To attract the vital go-between pollinators, males ooze nectar among the nubbins. Females release it from their skirt and in a sweet zone at the base of the main bouquet. It’s a banquet in a parched season. Ants, beetles, cockroaches and even birds such as white-naped jays gather to feast.

Ecologist Jean Carlos Santos told Science News that beetles probably do some actual pollination for the plant. But ants and most of the other guests are probably just freeloaders themselves on this freeloading plant.

Blooming is an extraordinary event, and shows that even for a thief stripped to essentials, elaborate floral sex is apparently still worth the effort. Though, some observers have suggested, it may happen only once in each Langsdorffia lifetime.

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