|Blooming dodder, heavily parasitizing its host.|
You can see a little bit of the host's yellowing in the photo above, but it was much more extensive than I captured in that image. Seems like a bad parasite, right? To kill your host? But I suppose if the dodder can tap a new host once its old one expires, then perhaps it doesn't have to be so committed to only taking what can be spared.
|Funky flowers, closer up.|
Interestingly, dodders start with a root, but it dies off once they find a host. They grow airborne. These plants are so totally committed to parasitism, their seeds don't come provisioned with cotyledons.
Apparently, these plants even have what could be called a sense of smell. When they germinate, the seedlings sniff the air and grow towards volatiles coming off a suitable host. For example, in one experiment they preferentially sought tomatoes 73% of the time. Weedy or not, I think I love this little plant. It is so weird.