Scientists have discovered what seems like a new form of plant communication between a “vampire” plant and its prey.
As described in a study recently published in the journal Science, weed science expert Jim Westwood of Virginia Tech took a close look at how the parasitic plant called a dodder attacks his host.
Westwood specifically looked at how the dodder interacted with two host plants, Arabidopsis and tomatoes. It has long been known that dodders are “vampire-like” parasitic plants. Like a nightmare from an alien horror film, the dodder wraps itself around its host. It then uses a long probe to literally tap into its victim and drain their fluids.
Researchers had done previous work that found that when the dodder first sinks its “fang” into its victim, it also begins to transport RNA – a sort-of DNA translator – between it and its host.