Sunday, October 14, 2012

Parasitic Plants

Underneath the green, down in the tangle of roots, poking up from the mud dwell Yakushima's uncelebrated parasitic plants.

The dark side, if you will, to all the sun-loving trees and moss and ferns.

They're easy to recognize as plants that just don't look quite right, like secrets biology teachers might have hidden in their closets.

Here are several:

In late spring and early summer the ginrousou (Monotropastrum humile) appear. The Japanese kanji (銀竜草) means silver dragon weed:

They are followed by yakkosou (Mitrastema), which remind me a bit of miniature Humpty-Dumpties or worts when they first pop out of the earth:

(photo by Watase)

In the fall, the tsuchi-torimochi (Balanophora) stand out like really, really sore thumbs:

There's more. Just so we don't get the idea that all is harmonious coexistence in Yakushima, there are some plants that take from others.

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