Hello folks who wonder if plant protection services should intervene and take away houseplants from people who consistently end up killing their houseplants due to overwatering or neglect,

Let me ask you a question, "What is your favorite season?" 

  • I like Spring because the wildflowers remind me it is my year to shine....
  • I really have an emotional connection with Summer because it means going to the beach, BBQing....
  • I love Fall because it's Football season...
  • I love Winter because I get to pile on the calories and blame it on the holiday season....

No matter which camp you associate with, one season no one is looking forward to every year is the Tax season.


Remember the first time you got your paycheck and saw the huge chunk the government took out claiming it is going to be used for welfare for all the citizens. "Taxation is just theft.. all my taxes just go to bail these rich corporations or fund these corrupt politicians and wars.. I wish I could be just as rich as Mr. Bezos and get away without paying any" you might angrily exclaim.

No one likes sharing their slice of pizza with anyone unless it is topped with pineapple then just take the whole goddamn slice. When someone eats a chunk of your pizza slice, we call them parasites. It might not end up killing you but hey it is stealing those valuable carbs that you need to sit on the couch and binge on the new Netflix show. Similarly in nature, some plants are parasitized by other plants.

Why, you ask? Why not, I retort. If a plant could live its entire life without having to cook a single meal (read photosynthesis) in its life and just steal the DoorDash order that was placed outside the neighbor's door, wouldn't that be the American Dream?

One of the first things you would say if you ever visited a salt marsh in the San Francisco Bay Area is "Jeez, the water is so murky here unlike the clear waters I saw during my Bahamas trip" followed by "Why is that plant covered with Cheeto dust?"

The plant in question is a Pickleweed that is tolerant of the salty conditions that a plant would face if it would be growing in a salt marsh. It looks something like this.

But when it is parasitized by another plant it will look like this.


That orange noodle that is wrapping the pickleweed is the Salt Marsh Dodder plant which grows like a vine around its host. It will not spend its time or effort in photosynthesizing and finish all seasons of Ozark instead #YOLO. Since the dodder has almost no chlorophyll (the magic ingredient), they will appear yellow or orange instead of the traditional green color that society expects every plant to have. Once it wraps around its host, special structures called haustoria will start growing in certain spots close to each other. This is how it would look once those structures have grown.


Since the dodder lacks the typical roots that extract nutrients from the soil, the haustoria will play the part of roots by penetrating the plant cells and stealing the nutrients, water and glucose. In order to see these haustoria attachment sites, you can gently flick one of these haustoria and it will show signs of where it had penetrated the plant.


Here is a closer look at those haustoria attachment sites reminiscent of screw or nail holes.


All the tax it collects from the host pickleweed will be used in sending its own kids to private school i.e., producing these cute white flowers followed by seeds. Thank you for paying your taxes on time, says the dodder.


1 comment:

  1. I like this episode because you used the phrase "buckle up, buttercup"

    ReplyDelete

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