Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Guru Byte - Wicked Weeds and Fiendish Flowers

If you think witches, vampires and devils are just in scary stories,then next time you’re outside, you might want to look at what’s creeping around your feet. You see, the plant world is full  of ghoulish characters. Such as this one. Its scientific name is Hydnora Africana but to most, it’s called 
The Vampire Plant

Instead of making its own food from the sun and soil...

...this subterranean parasite sucks the life out of nearby plants by attaching its “fangs” to the roots of its victims.

The only time the Vampire Plant emerges from the darkness beneath is when its alien looking flowerbud bursts up from the ground, splits open and emits a terrible smell like that of rotting meat.

This smell attracts unwary bugs and when one enters the bloom, the Vampire Plant traps it with its fingerlike fringes.  

The captive bug is released only after it has served the Vampire Plant by pollinating its pod-like flower.

Another ghastly sounding plant goes by many terrifying names such as Strangleweed, Devilguts, and Witch's Shoelaces. Officially known as the Dodder Vine, this plant creeps over to an unsuspecting tomato plant, wraps around its stem and sucks the lifeblood from it.