Thursday, June 27, 2013

Botany picture #79: Lathraea squamaria

Lathraea squamaria (Orobanchaceae), Germany, 2009. When I went to university, the Rhinanthoideae were still, for some bizarre reason, part of the Scrophulariaceae although it was a complete no-brainer that they were more closely related to Orobanche than to other Scrophulariaceae. About the only rationale one could perhaps perceive in the classification that was accepted then was that the Orobanchaceae were holoparasitic, that is they do not have chlorophyll and steal everything they need from a host plant, and the Rhinanthoideae were hemiparasitic, that is they steal water and nutrients but still conduct their own photosynthesis to produce complex organic molecules. Lathraea, however, used to be in the Scrophulariaceae despite also being holoparasitic, making that classification even less defensible. Another example where the new phylogenetic classification makes more sense.

The inflorescence in the above picture is all that ever shows above ground, and there are no green leaves. There is another species that has even less above ground parts but unfortunately I do not have an image of it.

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