DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Parasitic vine stem. Light micrograph of a section through the stem of a love vine (Cassytha filiformis) parasitic vine, showing its haustoria, which are used to penetrate the tissues of its host plant (top left). The vascular tissue in each haustorium penetrates the host's vascular bundles where it 'sucks' sugars from the phloem (light pink-violet oval) tissues, and water and minerals from the xylem (pink with white circles), which it passes back to the stem of the host. C. filiformis has little chlorophyll (green), so cannot make its own food, and the base of its stem cannot absorb much water from the soil, so these substances must be obtained from the host plant. Magnification: x7 when printed 10 centimetres tall.
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