What is Haustorium?

Haustorium is a fancy term for a specialized structure, like a tiny straw, used by some organisms to steal nutrients from others.  They come in two main flavors: fungal and parasitic plants.

  • Fungal haustoria: These are microscopic outgrowths from fungal filaments (hyphae) that invade the cells of a host plant. They don't break into the cell itself but rather absorb nutrients from the space between the cell wall and membrane. This allows fungi to tap into the sugary goodness produced by plants through photosynthesis.
  • Parasitic plant haustoria: These are more like modified roots that burrow into the vascular tissues of their host plant. This creates a direct connection, allowing the parasite to steal water, minerals, and dissolved sugars.  Examples of plants with haustoria include mistletoe and members of the broomrape family.

The word "haustorium" comes from the Latin word "haustor," meaning "one who draws or drinks," which perfectly captures the function of this sneaky little structure.

You may like

Next Post Previous Post
No Comment
Add Comment
comment url