Light micrograph of a lesser dodder, Cuscuta epithymum, (top) attached to a host. This vine- like parasitic plant grows around the stems of gorse and heather. It lacks a root system and chlorophyll of its own and so is unable to survive in the absence of a suitable host. Nutrients & water are obtained from the internal tissues of the host via root-like structures, called haustoria, growing at intervals along the stem. This picture shows two such haustoria tapping into the tissues of the host's vascular system (the region along the bottom). Magnification: x40 at 35mm size.
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